American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders

American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders

An in-depth dive into the conspiracies and scandals that rocked Americans during the latter half of the 20th century


TV Show

United States of America
Crime, Documentary


I’m just glad Netflix has broken through its spell of homogeneous true crime dramas with this one.

What it's about

Filmmaker Zachary Treitz and researcher Christian Hansen team up to investigate the mysterious deaths of people who claimed to have tapped into a major conspiracy in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but not without falling into the rabbit hole themselves.

The take

The so-called “Octopus,” that is the eight powerful but sketchy individuals journalist Danny Casolaro believed to be in control of the entire country, is already a complex topic. Crazy, but impressively complex. Equally interesting is the series of mysterious deaths allegedly committed by the Octopus, which includes what looks to be Casolaro’s framed suicide. This four-part documentary by Netflix efficiently dives into all of that with the added bonus of duo Zachary Treitz and Christian Hansen’s perspectives. The former is the director who expertly weaves all the tangles into a coherent web, while the latter is our guide into it, a researcher who wishes to follow in Casolaro's footsteps despite the multiple signs that he should maybe stop, if not out of fear of what lurks in the shadows then out of fear of insanity. Not only do Treitz and Hansen relay the information in an accessible and intriguing way, they also effectively reproduce that paranoid feeling of falling deep into a conspiracy rabbit hole. If you’re not a fan of true crime, this is worth the watch if only for that feeling.

What stands out

I agree with the observation that Christian Hansen eerily looks a lot like his subject, Danny Casolaro. Talk about stepping into someone’s shoes.


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