D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! Netflix documentary review

If you’re looking for a D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! review with all the answers -frankly, you’re not going to find them here, or anywhere else! Where is D.B. Cooper? What happened to D.B. Cooper? Is D.B. Cooper still alive? These are just a few of the many questions that fifty years after the man’s audacious highjacking on a flight between Portland and Seattle that people across the world continue to ask.

As this Netflix documentary series brilliantly articulates, the fascinating story of D.B. Cooper is not just a mystery that has been lost in the mists of time, it’s not just the only unsolved aviation hijacking in American history – this is a crime that is much bigger than all those things, a crime that has created a folk hero, a mystery that has become part of American pop culture, what is more, it is an event that continues to have amateur sleuths and citizen journalists attempting to solve it to this very day.

I must admit, I sometimes find the true crime documentary hard work. They can be too long (sometimes ten parts or more) and they often cover ground that has been written about and recorded many times before. That’s not the case with this slick documentary made by Fulwell 73, the producers of The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS amongst other hits. This is a docuseries that has purpose from the beginning, real energy and pace – and a new way to tell a story that is very familiar to many in America.

If you don’t know who D.B. Cooper is (or Dan Cooper as it probably was before the reporting changed his name by accident), this is a man who once got onto a plane at Portland and passed a note to a flight attendant telling her he had a bomb in his briefcase. His demands were simple. He wanted the plane to land at Seattle, and he would let the majority of the passengers on the plane go if he was given two hundred thousand dollars in a bag and four parachutes. When the plane took off again and headed back towards Portland, he ordered the plane to fly low and slow and then got all of the crew that remained on the flight to go to the cockpit. At some point in the few minutes after that – he jumped. He was never seen again, and no trace of him was found on the ground after a huge search.

Fifty years on the question remain; did he survive, and if he did, how did he manage to disappear and evade capture for more than half a century? And those are the questions at the heart of this excellent documentary which is put together in a very classy and well-paced manner including testimony from people who were on the flight, investigated the incident – and perhaps most interestingly, the many people who have studied the case and continue to attempt to solve it so many decades after the event in 1971.

There have been literally hundreds of suspects investigated over the last 50 years, and although no one has ever been found to be DB Cooper, there are many citizen journalists and Cooper hunters out there still trying to track the man down. This show introduces us to these people as well as the folklore that has built around this case across popular culture in America and across the world.

Sometimes Netflix docuseries in the true crime genre can be long and become unwieldy, but on this occasion, the streaming giant has really hit the mark. The show is concise and fascinating, and has just enough new information and angles to keep both the Cooper enthusiast and the causal doc-watcher enthralled from beginning to end.

This is a show that you should watch right now if you want some mystery in your life. And don’t forget to watch the video review above too, if you want to see clips from the show.

D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! is available to watch now wherever you live on Netflix

Tim Glanfield

Tim Glanfield is a journalist, editor and broadcaster with more than 15 years experience writing about television, film and the entertainment business. He has been editor of RadioTimes.com, a writer for The Times (of London) and the Guardian as well as a freelance contributor to newspapers, magazines and websites across the world. He is author of the book Digital Economy or Bust: The Story of a New Media Startup and makes regular appearances on TV and radio in the UK.

Tim Glanfield has 35 posts and counting. See all posts by Tim Glanfield