Netflix released the docuseries “American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing” last week, ahead of the 10th anniversary of the horrific attack on our city. The three-part-series is an edge of your seat watch that even all these years later still forces you to remember how our City changed in less than a week.
There are interviews with law enforcement, including Boston Police Billy Evans and Ed Davis, survivor Karen McWatters, FBI Special Agent in Charge Rick Deslauriers, reporter Phillip Martin and plenty others who were connected to the investigation and events that followed.
From the opening episode, you’re right back to minutes before the attacks at the finish line and it still hurts to watch. Plenty of the same footage you’ve seen on TV, internet, news outlets. But the interviews and the perspective from 10 years later are what holds this series together. The shock still resonates, and the images will never not be etched in our memories, but to hear from the people involved at the ground level is fascinating.
Billy Evans himself said “to see the young bodies lying on the street, it’s something I’ll never get out of my head to this day”. Maybe that’s not what you experienced, maybe you were in Kenmore Square, or Heartbreak Hill or Hopkinton. But the details that the law enforcement added and first responders recalled brought you to where they were standing that day.
Following the bombing, the investigation went at a frantic pace. Officials identified the Tsarnaev brothers as the attackers and were given code names “white hat” and “black hat” which was in the video footage the investigative team reviewed for days. One of the more fascinating pieces, even with 10 years of 20/20 hindsight, was the debate and discussion on releasing the photos to the public of the two attackers. Only Ed Davis wanted to release the information, while the rest of the team disagreed. Ultimately, the majority decision won, however the pictures were still leaked to the public. The interviewees still disagreed on the matter and many believed that the decision led to the death of MIT officer Sean Collier and the subsequent firefight in Watertown.
The docuseries also interviewed Danny Meng, who was kidnapped by the brothers following the murder of officer Collier. I’ve never seen or heard an extensive interview with Meng before and you could tell while he was retelling his first hand experience, he’s truly grateful he was able to make a split-second decision to escape.
As the series wrapped up with footage of the shoot-out and subsequent capture of the suspect, the recollection of the Boston Strong mantra was on full display. Plenty has unfolded since then but to see all of the people, whether it was their job or not, save countless lives was amazing to watch.
If you’re prepared to re-live that day and week to follow, I’d recommend this. It’s been 10 years and while for me and our City has changed, Boston Strong still lives on.