There’s no denying that Netflix now dominates the crime documentary genre. Hot on the heels of “Making A Murderer,” “Amanda Knox,” “Wild Wild Country” and “Casting JonBenet,” to name but a few, is “Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist” out on Friday, May 11.
The series explores the death of pizza delivery man Brian Wells in August 2003, who robbed a bank with an explosive device strapped to his neck, which then detonated when he was surrounded by police.
“I basically started to scratch the surface at the time that it happened,” says co-director Trey Borzillieri, who spent years interviewing one of the suspects. He lived near Erie, Pennsylvania, where the robbery happened, and the story got complicated fast. “
“Soon after information emerged that there was evidence at the scene that Wells had been put up to do this,” he recalls. “That authorities had found a frozen body near the site where Wells had been asked to make the pizza delivery. The FBI was saying that the frozen body wasn’t related. But I just had to know more. It became this elusive mystery.”
Putting together the story was a challenge, says co-director Barbara Schroeder. "Because of the heist and then the other layers of new information that comes out in the film, we could have written it 100 different ways and shown it from a lot of different perspectives," she says.
Each additional piece of information takes the case in a new direction, but so far none of them have been the whole story, which they're able to tell because in the making of "Evil Genius," they uncovered new facts in the case. "Up until this series the media, the public, they have heard [only] one side of the story," she says.
"It is kind of eerie as it unfolds," adds Borzillieri. "Because it is like a parlor game. You are like, ‘Who is the mastermind? Who wrote the notes?’ It is a really interactive and multi-layered caper.
"We are really hoping that the viewers, don’t just follow along with the story, but can feel it is a participatory journey."