Directed by Sam Benstead and Gareth Johnson, ‘The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman‘ is a three-part Netflix documentary about convicted conman Robert Hendy-Freegard.
The show follows three different stories that take place at different time periods. Three friends are told by their friend “Rob” that he is with MI5 and they have to flee college because a secret IRA terrorist cell is targeting them. An American woman is swept off her feet in the early 2000s by a man who tells her he can train her to join the intelligence community. In the 2010s, a divorced British housewife meets a man who claims to be an ads salesman who isolates her from her family, friends, and her children. What do all of these incidents have in common? It is one man, a con artist named Robert Hendy-Freegard.
The documentary tells the story of these insane cons through interviews with victims and their families. It was illuminating to see how one man could manipulate, at one point, three different people and how he destroyed their lives. One poor woman was controlled by him for almost a decade and listening to how he psychologically tortured her was harrowing.
That is also true of one family whose mother is still being controlled by him. Their cries for their mother to return to them and leave him were heart-wrenching as they discussed how he destroyed their family. The documentary does a good job of showing how the victims were effected by Rob or whatever alias he was using at the time.
Not to give spoilers, but this documentary is unique in that there is not a sense that justice has been done. It leaves you wanting and in the case of this documentary, I think that it worked for it. It was riveting, emotional, and definitely helped connect you to the victims.
Check out the trailer below:
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Discussion of violence, Disturbing topics, Thematic elements
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