It’s November 24, 1971. A man in a suit, tie, and sunglasses, armed with a bomb in his bag, hijacks a plane bound for Portland to Seattle. He demands two hundred thousand dollars in cash, four parachutes, jumps out of a plane over a wooded area and is never found. Just a plane ticket with the name on it Dan Cooper, which later became “DB Cooper”. A legend was born and the mystery of the thief’s identity remains unsolved to this day. Or could Netflix provide some new clues in the documentary series The Mystery of D.B. Cooper?
by Lena Wasserburger
First of all: No, not even Netflix was able to solve the mystery of D.B. Cooper in the four episodes of the series, but it soon becomes clear: that’s not what the creators of the documentaries are about. Yes, of course, at the heart of the series is the story of the kidnapping and the man who escaped with two hundred thousand dollars in loot. But what really matters in this series is much less the true identity of the thief than the people who are looking for the legend. At least as intriguing as the mystery surrounding the perpetrators themselves is an almost cult-like community of fans and amateur detectives that has developed over the past 50 years.
As the documentary shows, now in the USA, for example, there are bars inspired by Cooper and even the Cooper Agreement, where, among other things, all those who believe they have found new evidence on the case gather. The series delves into the topic, covering the most important facts of the true story, people who have been considered potential suspects over the years, detectives looking for either D.B. Cooper or big money, and finally, how it should be otherwise, also about conspiracy theories. However, for all four episodes, the people interviewed and told their stories as part of the documentary may not be as trustworthy as initially thought, as were their theories and “visions” in the case of D.B. Cooper. This sets the “D.B. Cooper Mystery” apart from some similar true crime-area documentaries, which operate mostly on the basis of facts.
Each episode is accompanied by creative effects and “catchy” background music and makes the series not only audio-visually appealing, but also gives it an almost lively atmosphere. It was obvious that the chain makers were able to let off steam here. However, it is worth noting that “The Mystery of D.B. Cooper” could have been achieved with one episode less. The actual message: “It’s a mystery, the solution of which we will probably never know” is already clearly understood after Episode 1 and does not require thirty repetitions. After more than forty books, true crime audio files and countless movies, The D.B. Cooper Mystery joins an incredibly large arsenal of media content on the case and makes a small, if interesting, contribution. One can assume that after more than 50 years there may be enough “Cooper content”. However, Netflix is likely to spark a new storm of excitement with the case’s documentaries, which will likely once again set D.B. Cooper’s immortality in stone.
Decent music, high entertainment, and an unusual story with plenty of twists and turns. Indeed, the perfect recipe for a successful true crime documentary series, if “The D.B. Cooper Mystery” is a little shorter in places.
Photos: © Netflix