The Motive (2021) review – Israeli true crime series tells a terrifying tale

October 28, 2021
Romey Norton 2
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews


Good old Netflix strikes again with its latest murder documentary, The Motive.

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Good old Netflix strikes again with its latest murder documentary, The Motive.

This review of Netflix true-crime series The Motive (2021) does not contain spoilers. 

This documentary series surrounds the story of a 14-year-old boy who shot his family point-blank in their beds, in Jerusalem in 1986. Still, the question remains, what was his motive, especially when they appear to be a happy family? The boy’s real name has never been revealed due to him being a minor and being sent to juvenile prison. 

The Motive is a crime documentary TV series directed and produced by Tali Shemesh and Asaf Sudry and is currently streaming on Netflix. This documentary series comprises four episodes. Each chapter has audio in Hebrew/Arabic and subtitles in English, lasting between half an hour and forty-five minutes, making for a great binge watch. 

This series is fascinating and terrifying because it’s about the crimes of a minor. The whole story becomes very mysterious as there is a lot of investigation but with very small conclusions. What will interest viewers is that no one can conclude a motive for the killings to this date. While watching, you can draw up your conclusions as I did, but I was left feeling frustrated and let down. The 13/14-year-old takes his father’s M16 Rifle, shoots his mum, dad, and two older sisters, and then runs away, claiming a thief was in the house. When the boy is asked “why,” he answers, stating that a green creature had commanded him to do so, that’s it.

Like most, this true-crime series includes interviews with friends, family, specialists, the boy’s girlfriend, school teacher, cops, counselors, and the one survivor. There is a lot of footage of the family, home videos portraying them as a typical, happy, average family. No fancy settings or extravagant visuals; this series is clearly telling you a story about a boy who killed his family, and no one could figure out why. 

There is nothing new or groundbreaking in this series, and there is a lot of repetition. While I was thoroughly engrossed and entertained, I was left feeling angry at the process and for not giving any answers. It’s full of blood, drama, murder; this series is a captivating watch. Never a dull moment when you’re trying to understand the mind of a killer. I’d highly recommend this if you’re into true crime documentaries.

What did you think of Netflix true-crime series The Motive (2021)? Comment below. 

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2 thoughts on “The Motive (2021) review – Israeli true crime series tells a terrifying tale

  • November 9, 2021 at 5:08 am

    He is an adult–he is out of prison–he is married and has children and they won’t give his name? Nor do they tell ho long he served! And that lawyer–unbelievable!!!

  • January 16, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    I couldn’t believe how disappointing the professionals were in this case.

    the defense atty comes off as a lunatic & a scammer, and the shrink seems absolutely clueless about PSYCHOPATHY.

    I could not accept the “manslaughter” deal , either !

    the psycho kid gets everything…yet…they couldn’t arrive at a “motive” ??

    the series makes this kid/young adult out to be some sort of anti-hero genius…who got away with slaughtering his family.

    aside from that, the series itself is very watchable, as a documentary…the frustrations of LE and the Prosecution are shown…

    but way too much emphasis on the “genius”, “adorable” kid…and how he’s just a “normal” guy.


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