Where is Private Dulaney? is an ABC News-produced docuseries that is scatter-shot and light on new details outside newspaper clippings.
We review the Hulu docuseries Where is Private Dulaney?, which was released on November 16th, 2022.
This ABC News-produced docuseries is scatter-shot and light on new detail. Where is Private Dulaney? is a worthy subject matter worth your time. However, it’s more of a stepping stone designed to rattle government officials to cough up more information. Like a short film used as an outline. A small sample to give the studio a taste of what a feature could look like. I fully expect a documentary in the future will benefit from the Hulu crime documentary’s release.
The story follows the dogged determination of the family of Private Dulaney. The U.S. Marine Corps soldier went missing in 1979. According to the officers at the base, Dulaney went absent without official leave (AWOL). This is during the time post-Vietnam war, where the conflict (and, for that matter, the draft) has left the number of military soldiers dwindling. According to the docuseries, the Marines would take anybody. Dulaney’s mother begins to kick at a Carolina hornet’s nest of seedy settings and shady characters. Including military officers at Camp Lejune.
Do you want the gist? When Dulaney goes missing, the military wants to cover it up with an AWOL stamp of approval. The Dulaney family (including Carol and her sons, Michael and Greg) runs into serial killers, gun runners, drug and smoke-filled back-alley rooms, and even a bloody cult. That’s right, in a decade filled with anti-government trust and paranoia, investigators think Private Delaney may have been involved in a cult-like activity. This is something you would find commonplace in movies during that time.
Director Joshua Bennett (Atlanta’s Lost and Murdered: The Missing Children) directs this three-part series that needs a quality dosage of Ritalin. The story is sporadic. Their documentary has trouble remaining focused as if it wants to throw red herrings everywhere to distract you from the facts. This feels like filler for a series that is light on new facts of the case. The reason is, most likely, the government has never responded to the request by the filmmakers here, even under the freedom of information act, which requires the government to produce information.
While the story adequately shows you Dulaney’s timeline and history growing up in West Virginia and joining the military, it loses steam quickly. The docuseries recants interviews with family, friends, and private investigators. However, much goes over reported newspaper clippings decades prior.
Part of the problem, or what some may call charm, is the color the series tries to add to pull in the viewer. While the story is interesting, as investigating the murder and solving the mystery of Where is Private Delaney? holds your attention, the bigger picture is the question of what was happening at Fort Lejume on a broader scale.
Over 200 marines went AWOL in a short period, and many are still missing. Considering the news stories of the past couple of years of deaths and soldiers found murdered away from bases in the past few years, it seems prudent to wonder what was transpiring at the base without the internet, smartphones, and cloud-based security cameras.
A more succinct documentary film will be made about this subject in the future.
What did you think of the Hulu docuseries Where is Private Dulaney? Comment below.