Netflix Docuseries Captures Boston Marathon Manhunt


Wikimedia Commons

Aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Netflix’s gripping documentary, American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing, released on April 12, chronicles the relentless pursuit of the marathon bombers and shares the harrowing stories of survivors. This compelling installment offers profound insight into the events.

The Boston Marathon, a cherished New England tradition since its inaugural race in 1897, has garnered widespread acclaim. While deeply rooted in Boston’s culture, it has gained national recognition through televised broadcasts in recent years. The event’s popularity has transcended regional boundaries, captivating audiences across the United States, particularly in Massachusetts, and captivating running enthusiasts nationwide. According to the Boston Athletic Association around 500,000 people annually tune in to the marathon through broadcasting alone, underlining its widespread appeal.

On April 13, 2013, the crowd attending the Boston Marathon was changed forever.


The city of Boston was deeply affected by the heinous act committed by two brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who detonated two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Tragically, this senseless act claimed the lives of three individuals and left over 200 others injured. The Boston Bombing stands as a harrowing event that inflicted profound trauma and instilled a pervasive sense of terror among the city’s residents.

When the bombing occurred I was about to turn seven, and in turn was not aware of the real impact this had on my city. Every child in Massachusetts heard about the bombing, however those who were young like me cannot remember exactly what happened or, were given a filtered version of the story. 

Recently, I stumbled upon a show in the recommended section of Netflix that caught my attention. Being a Massachusetts citizen and someone who appreciates true crime documentaries, I was immediately intrigued and decided to give it a watch. Little did I know that this documentary would have a profound impact on me, unlike anything I had anticipated.

This series was excellently executed with a perfect amount of suspense and storytelling.

American Manhunt: the Boston Marathon Bombing includes three episodes that are about an hour long each. In the episodes, we first hear from survivors of the bombing and friends of one of the decisions. However, the biggest part of the show follows law enforcement and government officials who were involved in the investigation and the hunt for the suspects.

Prior to watching American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing, my knowledge of the tragedy was limited to the fact that two brothers set off bombs during the marathon. However, the docuseries revealed to me the horrifying extent of the bombing and the painstaking efforts it took for officials to track down the suspects. I was truly unaware of the magnitude of the events. I firmly believe that this series is not only a must-watch for Bostonians but also for anyone fascinated by true crime. The execution of the series is superb, striking a perfect balance of suspense and captivating storytelling.

Through this series I was able to follow the investigation like it was happening in real time, like I was really experiencing it. Not only was this docuseries informative, it also really moved me. Watching such a tragedy happen so close to home and to recognize all the places mentioned as part of the investigation made watching this documentary very real for me. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, I cannot remember a time when a show had me this invested.

The story being told directly by the people who were involved including survivors, law enforcement, and even people who knew the perpetrators gave many different perspectives on both the event itself and the Tsarnaev brothers.

While nowhere in this series did I see anyone try to make excuses for the brothers’ actions, having interviews with people who knew them humanized them instead of painting the brothers as monsters. This aspect of the show,  is very important because for history not to repeat itself, we need to know why it happened.

Overall, I feel as though the directors captured the realness of the situation in a way that makes the final capture of the criminals extremely satisfying. I highly recommend this series for anyone who enjoys true crime or wants to learn more about the Boston Marathon Bombing.