CAN I TELL YOU A SECRET? on Netflix is a new true crime documentary in two parts. It’s a very important case, but a terrible production. Still, you should watch it for the case. Read our Can I Tell You a Secret? docu-series review here!

CAN I TELL YOU A SECRET? is a new Netflix docu-series in the true crime subgenre. The case in this two-part documentary focuses on stalking. Specifically, it focuses on how one stalker managed to stalk a lot of women. Most of them were ignored – or received no help – when they tried to report it.

Except for helping us get a natural break, there’s no reason this documentary should be a docu-series and not simply a feature-length documentary. No matter how it’s presented, the production and style of this new British docu-series is abysmal. And it’s a damn shame as the case is important!

Continue reading our Can I Tell You a Secret? review below. Find it on Netflix from February 21, 2024.

Focus on the victims and then the stalker

Can I Tell You a Secret? is the story of the most prolific (known!) stalker in the UK. His name is Matthew Hardy – this isn’t a spoiler but the official “plot” of the documentary – and he received the longest custodial sentence in British history for online stalking.

Over two hour-long episodes, we hear from a few of the women who were his victims, the police investigation (and lack thereof, at first), and how one of the victims ended up handing the police a folder of evidence. Not unlike what happened in The Truth About Jim on Max.

Part One of Can I Tell You A Secret? sets the stage

The intense and relentless online stalking cases start with a ping. A stranger contacts a lot of women and immediately starts talking about a secret. What comes next is the stalker inserting himself into every area of the victims’ online lives.

Including the very Catfish-inspired move of creating new profiles where the stalker pretends to be their victim. Via this cloned profile, they contact friends and family members of their victim and land them in all sorts of hot water, including very compromising situations that endanger them.

The stalker is on a campaign of harassment that directly threatens the everyday lives of his victims. All of them are young women from across the UK. Before long, the women are scared to leave their homes (the “online stalker” tends to work offline as well) and are desperate for help, but the police are very slow to give it.

The Part 2 of Can I Tell You A Secret? focus

When part 2 comes around, the focus is on the stalker and the one brave officer who apparently cracks the whole case. Very much based on the work done by one of the victims, who works at a law office and knows how a case is handled when going to court.

Also, the police officer is simply doing his job and seems to be learning on the job instead of consulting experts. It results in justice moving very slowly. Officially, the plot ends with “As key evidence mounts, one police officer is determined to bring the suspect to justice”.

Well, that’s just BS because no more evidence shows up. The police simply manage to understand what the hell they’re dealing with at a very slow pace.

I dare claim that Nev and Kamie from Catfish would’ve cracked this case in an afternoon. Including a package of the so-called “mounting evidence” that the police take months or even years to accumulate.

Can I Tell You A Secret? – Review | Netflix True Crime Docuseries

Sympathy for the stalker?!

When part 2 of Can I Tell You A Secret? begins, it’s with a focus on the stalker. At the end of part 1, his name is revealed and so the second part naturally begins with a focus on him. Less natural is the way he’s portrayed.

He’s autistic and was lonely and bullied in High School, which seems like a plea for sympathy. Not just that they mention this, but the way this documentary suddenly becomes so focused on him. Also, a police officer gets a lot of screen time.

The kind of screen time, mind you, where he has to do some acting. Or attempt to. We get to see him look exasperated as he’s trying to “crack the case” and quite frankly, his acting comes across as if he’s having a much harder time than the actual victims.

Also, do try to pay attention to a fact that one of the victims later points out: From the first time a victim approaches law enforcement to when he is caught and faces charges, nothing has changed. There is no new evidence or new laws put in place. Instead, the police finally got around to doing their actual jobs!

Particularly acknowledging that stalking – including the kind that takes place [mostly!] online – is an actual crime. I would’ve liked an even greater focus on their previous lack of effort. There are comments from various police departments at the end of both episodes, but this feels like a cop-out.

Yes, pun very much intended!

Watch Can I Tell You A Secret? on Netflix

The series director is Liza Williams, who previously directed The Yorkshire Ripper. That true crime docu-series won a BAFTA TV Award in 2020. Very deserved, I might add, as it was a very well-produced documentary. One that covered the true crime case boldly and directly. Do watch it!

Another director on Can I Tell You A Secret? is Tash Gaunt, but I can’t claim this is what makes the difference as Liza Williams is still the series director.

We very recently reviewed Lover, Stalker, Killer (also on Netflix) which was made as a feature and worked much better. Not that having Can I Tell You A Secret? released as a documentary feature rather than a two-part docu-series would’ve helped all the other issues.

Mostly, I absolutely loathe the voice-over where someone reads the messages from the stalker out loud with a filter supposedly disguising the stalker. Weird choice, when the stalker used written messages that we see on the screen.

And far too much screen time is used showing phone lines in the air flashing to imitate messages going out. I mean, enough already. One thing was if it was supposed to show the direction of the messages or if it was part of the investigation, but it’s just wasted on-screen time that gives us nothing new.

Do better! This is an important story and the focus of the docu-series is muddled. At best.

The Can I Tell You A Secret? docu-series is on Netflix from February 21, 2024. 


Three women’s lives are changed forever when a prolific stalker infiltrates their social media accounts. And they’re only a fraction of his many victims. The real-life story of the victims of serial cyberstalker Matthew Hardy.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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