DON’T PICK UP THE PHONE on Netflix is a new true-crime documentary series in three parts. It sounds absolutely crazy, but there is video evidence to help show the crime. Read our full Don’t Pick Up the Phone Netflix review here!
DON’T PICK UP THE PHONE is a new Netflix docu-series in the true crime subgenre. This one has just three episodes (each around 45-55 minutes), and it’s very binge-worthy. The docuseries follows the investigation into a hoax caller.
Over more than a decade, he talked managers into strip-searching employees at fast-food restaurants across the US.
Continue reading our Don’t Pick Up the Phone documentary review below. Watch all three episodes on Netflix from December 14, 2022.
What would you have done?
I know I often find myself thinking “What would I have done?” when watching these true-crime documentaries. In this case, you get to ask this question from multiple angles. What would you have done as a young (maybe even minor) fast food employee, who is held in a room by your manager?
And what would you have done as the manager of a major fast food restaurant, who receives a call from someone claiming to be a police officer and asking you to do things?
I can answer both with relative clarity, but I do not want to victim blame them in any way. For the young employee, I can absolutely understand that they get trapped in an escalating situation. They must have felt both scared and vulnerable in the most intense ways.
The managers, however, are the adults responsible for these younger employees. In some instances, they also seem to have benefitted from doing what is asked of them. As in having young employees undress in front of them.
It should also be noted, that many managers simply called out the hoax caller immediately. But, obviously, this docu-series isn’t about them. It’s about the around 100 cases (that we know of), where their managers did do as the hoax caller said. All because he claimed to be a police officer.
One trial and so much victim-blaming
As mentioned in Don’t Pick Up the Phone, we also have to acknowledge that the hoax caller targeted small towns, which seems to have enabled him. People living in small towns tend to trust and/or respect law enforcement more. Even over the phone, it would appear.
One case, which is caught on videotape, ends with the boyfriend of the manager taking over the “strip search”. Or rather, he takes over a naked 18-year-old girl and continues to do whatever the “police officer” tells him.
Since he’s asked to make her do things that bring him pleasure and complies with what the “police officer” asks – even while she is crying – he is definitely not a victim. Not to me! An idiot and opportunist, yes. A victim? Of his own greed, desire, and stupidity only!
The most grotesque thing, however, is that in most cases, no one seemed to really investigate the events afterward. The one case caught on videotape is one of the few exceptions.
Probably mostly due to the integrity of the police officer attached to the case. And even more so due to the fact that the victim was his next-door neighbor. The personal angle will do that to anyone!
We also hear of other victims, who tend to be met with the most brutal kind of victim-blaming. One even has the trial dismissal quote from the judge, which is textbook victim-blaming.
Watch Don’t Pick Up the Phone on Netflix now!
Sara Mast is the director of this new Netflix docu-series. She previously worked on the true-crime documentaries Dr. Death: The Undoctored Story and Dirty John: The Dirty Truth, so she’s quite familiar with the subgenre.
Again, I don’t want to victim blame, but in several of the cases covered in Don’t Pick Up the Phone on Netflix, I do not feel the managers are victims. They are enablers of a criminal and they know it feels wrong. But they still do it.
A MOVIE BASED ON THIS
Watch the 2012 movie Compliance which was based on this case!
Everyone should watch Don’t Pick Up the Phone to learn about this case. From the victim-blaming to the responsibility (or lack thereof) taken by the huge fast-food corporations.
And, maybe most importantly, to ask yourself; What would I have done? And what will I do if faced with a situation in any way similar; Asked to do something I know is wrong?!
Don’t Pick Up the Phone is on Netflix from December 14, 2022.
This docuseries follows the investigation into a hoax caller who talked managers into strip-searching employees at fast food businesses across the US.