Despite the tacky title, Web of Death is as engrossing and suspenseful as some of the best network true crimes series.
We review the Hulu true crime series Web of Death season 1, which was released on the streaming service on January 19th, 2023.
My main complaint with Hulu’s build-up of true crime docuseries to date is not the apparent competition between its rival, Netflix. It’s the fact that most seem to be repacking old 20/20 murder mysteries. No surprise most of the new Hulu ventures are from the ABC News division. Where ABC garners acclaim with critically acclaimed documentaries like Aftershock and Jacinta, their true crimes series can be tacky and even patronizing.
However, their latest venture has an exciting angle and manages to take fresh looks at engrossing murder cases that are as good as rival true crime shows such as Dateline and 48-Hours. If only Web of Death had a better title. Personally, I would have preferred something like Citizen Sleuths, but I digress.
Web of Death Season 1 Review and Plot Summary
The hook for the ABC News-produced Web of Death is following online sleuth detectives. They follow investigations intimately and think outside the box where macro government agencies can only function inside them. The band of brave foot soldiers ranges from voice-over specialists, cat moms, and retired firefighters. All use techniques such as digital footprints, DNA databases, and, most importantly, the endless possibilities of social media to dig up evidence and expose killers at their own game.
The reviewed cases are as interesting as a fictionalized case in Castle. You have Jackpot Murder, looking over the case of a missing lotto winner shortly after turning into a millionaire overnight. You have an unidentified woman in Colorado aptly named Boulder Jane Doe, who mysteriously has only injuries on her left side. A podcaster tells a story of how a caller revealed they lied on the stand in Crowdsourced Justice. California Dreaming investigates if two women may be the victims of the Night Stalker, which is eye-opening. Where Facebook Live watches a grieving father using social media to lure out his daughter’s killer. Yet, nothing can top Body of Evidence’s case of the mysterious skull inside a cement block.
The particular way the cases are laid out makes Web of Death as engaging as other top true crime series. They even follow an outline similar to the mystery series. You learn about why the case is essential or even different from others. You get to know the key players intimately. Each episode sets you up with who you think may be the killer but offers a detailed explanation of why they are dismissed. In most true crime series, many details are glossed over. That is crucial to shaping a narrative, especially when a mystery is still active. Here, you are left with little doubt that everything is thoroughly examined to the viewer’s satisfaction.
My one complaint about the series is that some of these citizen sleuths are only used for color rather than the main force behind solving the case. Except for Colorado Jane Doe, Crowdsourced Justice, and Facebook Live, many of these dedicated digital detectives are used as sounding boards. Even a mirror for who the series is made for. This adds a comfort food quality to justify the morbid curiosity of true crime fans to keep watching. This same quality is used by Dateline, having their reporters add color and curiosity for their loyal fans. Here, Web of Death gives its target audience a voice.
Is Web of Death season 1 good?
Web of Death may have a tacky title, but the series is as fascinating and suspenseful as any true crime series on streaming or network television. While the docuseries lack reliable and colorful reporting, not every show can find their Keith Morrison, the use of these citizen sleuths captures the imagination of most true crime fans.
Making them part of the mystery and capturing the imagination of being able to help solve a case.
What did you think of the Hulu true crime series Web of Death season 1? Comment below.