D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! review – addictive, a bit of ridiculous fun

By Marc Miller
Published: July 13, 2022 (Last updated: January 3, 2024)
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Essentially a comedy of errors, D.B. Cooper: Where are You?! is addictive and a bit ridiculous but separates Marina Zenovich’s docuseries from the rest by focusing on the dedicated crackpot sleuths and giving them their due.

Netflix docuseries D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! was released on the streaming service on July 13, 2022.

The subject of D.B. Cooper: Where are You?! is a mystery. It has been fifty years since he supposedly leaped into that dark, cold Pacific Northwest night. When that man with slick, shiny jet-black hair sat down in that Boeing 727-51, virtually nothing is known about him. Besides, he had swarthy skin and crow’s feet indicating he was in his mid-40s. He handed a note to the flight attendant—a common occurrence for women at the time. Airlines frequently marketed females as an attractive draw for businessmen to fly the skies. 

So, when Tina Mucklow read the notes, she was half-expecting some crude come-on. Except, this was different. D.B. Cooper’s note indicated that he had a bomb in his briefcase. He then asked Ms. Mucklow to sit next to him. He opened his briefcase and showed her a bomb with a rat’s-nest of wires attached to what looked like dynamite. He demanded $200,000, about one million in today’s dollars, and four parachutes, or he would set off the device.  

Marina Zenovich’s (Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind) engaging, if not addictive, and a bit ridiculous, docuseries exploring the case is not about the man himself but the obsessives investigating the legendary crime. There are so many theories behind the incident, it has spawned dozens of movies and television shows, and they are all different. On top of that, the people who investigated the case from the beginning, the citizen sleuths, suffered physical and mental health ailments. Nearly all began to crack and come apart at the seams when they dedicated their lives to what was eventually disproven.  

This four-part docuseries now follows one of the more egregious Netflix formats — stretching a 90-minute film into four parts. The first episode could have been done with a 15-minute setup before the credits rolled. It ‘is also scattershot and lacks focus. The last episode is more of a cooling-down period. However, when things get moving, two middle episodes are compulsively watchable. 

The series focuses on several crackpot theories. (Do not take offense since I mean this as a compliment because I love a good conspiracy theory). One comes from an investigator, Thomas Colbert, who made the case a family business. He has spent over 200,000 dollars of his own money in his investigation. His focus is a man named Robert Rickshaw, a former servicemember and pilot who had ties to the CIA during the Iran Contra affair. You will quickly find every D.B Cooper conspiracy theorist has one, but Colbert’s has gained the most traction in recent years. Well, that’s because Netflix produced this particular docuseries, so take it with a grain of salt. (HBO Max recently came out with The Mystery of DB Cooper in 2020).

D.B. Cooper: Where are You?! is a comedy of errors. It played for some laughs with a set of adorable credits that will remind you of the Steven Spielberg film, Catch Me if You Can. Her series, though, points to the absurdity of it all. Yet, Zenovich does not just gather a bunch of internet bloggers who comb through the case. You have retired and esteemed FBI agents and a man who even sat next to the infamous figure on the flight. You even have the former master of disguise at the CIA, Jonna Mendez, who offers a light touch in discussing the facts of the case while providing her interpretation. 

A good docuseries that focuses on conspiracy theories should be fun; Zenovich’s film has an abundance of that. Even if the series is a tad too long, D.B. Cooper: Where are You?! is an addictive watch. For whom exactly? Well, certainly for fans of true crime and conspiracy theories, as it takes a deep dive into obsessive online detectives to give them their due. 

What did you think of the Netflix docuseries D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!? Comment below.

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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