Terrorism Close Calls gives you several insightful accounts of an attack that was thwarted by anti-terrorism departments.
It was only a matter of time before Netflix released an original documentary series about the number of times we have managed to evade and prevent a terrorist attack, thus proving that the term “terrorism” is a commonly used buzzword in modern times. After Netflix’s 22 July and November 13, the streaming platform delivers Terrorism Close Calls, which embraces that true crime documentary-style feel.
Predictably, most of the episode centres around America’s way of combatting terrorism, which is no surprise considering the sizeable budget they use to prevent such attacks since 9/11. I’ve become so accustomed to the word terrorist due to the clumsy and irresponsible nature news outlets attach it to some incidents before retrieving the facts. At the same time, even though its a fearmongering tactic, it has to be appreciated that there are people out there preventing such atrocities, which is why documentaries like Terrorism Close Calls exist.
If you are interested in how anti-terrorism organisations managed to squash potentially tragic terrorist attacks in recent times, then Terrorism Close Calls is a well-sewn package. The documentary series offers 10-episodes, each one a case study on a particular event that was an anxious close call.
Terrorism Close Calls offers the technical aspects to charging down on a potential terrorist, narrowing it down to decision making between officials and how they can lawfully arrest a suspect. Due to my shallow knowledge from TV series Homeland, I naively understood the number of laws and processes you have to embrace before making a move, but it was insightful all the same to hear the accounts of tracking down potential terrorists from a factual standpoint.
The opening episode, “The NY City Subway Plot”, evidenced the pressure law enforcement is under to prevent an attack from happening. In this case, there was not enough identifiable evidence to barge into their homes and make an arrest; there needed to be sufficient evidence or motive to gain that warrant. Ironically, as one expert alluded to, if you chase down a terrorist via a car chase without gathering the appropriate evidence, law enforcement can only arrest that person for speeding, which makes sense, but you can only imagine what kind of pressure these people are under when trying to save lives.
Putting aside the seriousness of the subject matter, Netflix’s Terrorism Close Calls is equally entertaining as factually insightful. The narrator has that excitable voice as each development occurs in the reenactments. I did sit back and question if Terrorism Close Calls is even necessary, especially in a world where people are driven by fear, with the media setting their obvious political agenda. We already live in an anxious world, and I am not sure a documentary series about how we prevent terrorist attacks daily helps that anxiety.
Regardless, if you continue to watch Terrorism Close Calls, you will learn of the student bomb maker, the Mather Luther King day plot and the Israel honey trap. What you will take from the Netflix docuseries is a whole wave of information, answering questions that are pursed on the average citizen’s lips – “how do we prevent terrorist attacks on such a large scale?”. If this is your thing, then you will enjoy expert accounts of how it works, but if you are a person like me, who prefers living without knowing how it works in the background, then you are best keeping those anxieties at bay.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.