The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is compelling and addictive docuseries but the story that is being told takes precedence, making it hard to keep emotions intact.
WARNING: Netflix series The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez relates to a real child abuse case — the series presents horrific detail that is upsetting. If you are likely to be affected directly or indirectly by any of the issues raised in this Netflix docuseries, then please ensure you watch this with a supportive family member or friend.
There are not enough words to say how I feel about this documentary series. It is hard not to feel mad at the world when you hear about cases like this — The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is just… unspeakable and hard to swallow. It’s layered with so much tragedy, documenting a very young boy who was systematically tortured by those who were meant to protect him; his mother and her boyfriend, law enforcement and social services.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez demonstrates what fundamentally can go wrong when faced with evil. You will hold back the tears when you hear about Gabriel Fernandez — professionals are still haunted by his death today, which speaks volumes when these are the type of people who are usually desensitized by these cases.
And in the limited series, it is extremely difficult to hold back the anger; the absolute audacity to treat an innocent child like this and the presentation of the failings from a system that serves to protect is beyond imaginable in the mind. The Netflix docuseries does not hold back with the detail, the interviews and the emotional yet structured court process. This trial was as big as OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson — in fact, it is worse.
Moving away from the tragedy of what The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez presents, like most crime documentary series on this platform, it is well presented, structured and addictive. But a part of me felt slightly guilty for finding the limited series addictive because the story is still raw and wildly unprecedented; when it involves children, it hits a different chord.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez has a whole view of what failed and it gives insight into what changes in the future could ensure atrocities like this are prevented. There will always be monsters lurking, but our civilized protocols should enable us to stop the abuse.
Watch The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez when you are ready, because it is not for a casual evening.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.