Peacock's Casey Anthony documentary is drawing outrage online — here's why

Casey Anthony holding an iPad and looking at the camera in Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies
(Image credit: Peacock)

Often, hearing both sides of a story is a good idea. Casey Anthony's case is proving to be an exception. Or at least that's what many online are saying about the new three-part Peacock docu-series Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies.

For those who managed to miss her time in the spotlight on the national news, Casey Anthony was put on trial on charges of murdering of her two-year-old daughter Caylee Marie Anthony. While she was found not guilty on the charges of murder, manslaughter and child abuse, Anthony was convicted on counts of providing false information to the police. Having already spent three years in prison before the verdicts were served, she only served 10 more days in prison, with "good behavior" credited for why she didn't serve her full four-year sentence.

In the days following its Tuesday (Nov. 29) release, Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies has proven to be a lightning rod online. While critics have not reviewed the program enough for it to earn a Rotten Tomatoes critics score, audiences have, and it's a lowly 40%. Here's the full story about this docu-series.

What is Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies?

The series, as you might have guessed based on its title and poster art, is all about giving Anthony the time to tell her side of a story. And since this is a situation where many have come to believe she is the villain, it's not shocking that such a show was greenlit — though cable news has often been accused of being an echo chamber of only showing us what we want to see. 

As reported by Today (opens in new tab), the series shows Anthony reiterating her claims about her father covering up Caylee's death and sexually abusing Casey. She also claims that Cayley was a child of a rape that took place when Anthony was a teen, leading her to be pregnant at the age of 18. 

She also tries to explain the timeline of the day of Caylee's death and those thereafter. According to Anthony, once Caylee was found, Casey's father was "standing there with her in his arms and handing her to me and telling me that it’s my fault. That I did that. That I caused that." She also says that she didn't call 911 because she thought Caylee was going to be OK. 

Anthony's aim to garner sympathy here looks to be based on re-routing blame to her father. She also winds up painting herself as something of an unreliable narrator, stating that she doesn't "know what the truth is."

Casey Anthony docuseries reviews: What the critics say

Very few reviews for Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies have been published, but we've found two. Alessa Dominguez from BuzzFeed News (opens in new tab) describes the documentary as "a sometimes painful journey through Anthony’s psyche and the public and media reaction to the social media trial of the century." Dominguez doesn't rule in one direction or the other about the quality of the series, but also notes that it applies "a post–#MeToo understanding of how the criminal justice system and the media misunderstood trauma."

Mara Kleinberg at Decider (opens in new tab) writes "the narrative and the structure of the show feel confusing and the pacing for certain parts feels really fast. When a news reporter or friend will give their take on the case, it feels rushed and without clear reason. The producers seem to be trying to justify why this docuseries is necessary with different professionals but as soon as they share their two cents, the show rushes off. The editing feels quick and as a result, the viewer may have trouble finding a way to latch on to what is being said."

Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies reactions: What people are saying

Most of the reactions on Twitter come from people who are convinced Anthony should have been found guilty of Caylee's murder, and are angry with Peacock for giving her a platform and helping her make money. 

For example, Twitter user @Pete_Chi_Fan (opens in new tab) wrote "Just a reminder that absolutely NOBODY needs to watch that Casey Anthony documentary. Do NOT let that murderer get rich off this." While most of the replies to his tweet agree with him, a user named Chugs wrote "I watched it, pretty good tbh."

Twitter user @theashleyray is chuckling at the irony of all the negative reactions online, tweeting "imagine making a 6 hour documentary to convince everyone casey anthony is innocent and instead it makes everyone go “oh i believe she did it even more now actually.”

Casey Anthony in Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies

(Image credit: Peacock)

Looking through the Rotten Tomatoes audience reviews (opens in new tab) section for Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies, you find many people who are review-bombing it, seemingly without having watched it. So, we're gonna just focus on the ones who actually claim to have watched the docu-series.

Pat M, who gave it one and a half stars, wrote "Very dull and boring. No judgement of Casey Anthony. Not sure if she's telling the truth. Just very poorly put together. Not a very good interview."

User Allie B, however, gave it five stars and wrote "Please watch all 3 episodes before reviewing, during both 1 and 2 I still thought, no way, never will I change my mind on this! ... Whether it changes your mind or not- the documentary did a wonderful way of telling the story, retelling it, not leaving out the big questions we were all thinking, and showing us what we missed or may have dismissed at the time."

Outlook: Should you watch Casey Anthony's docuseries tonight?

I'm not one to tell people to not get upset, but it seems like many who have already made up their mind won't be swayed, and this series could just be a thing that raises your blood pressure. Those who won't even listen to a suggestion to watch it probably haven't made it this far in the article, so I'd say curious folks who want to hear more from Ms. Anthony, in a situation that's less hostile than a court room, should tune in.

That said, very few people seem to have especially positive things to say about the quality of the series, so this feels like one you can skip. Looking for something else? Read our list of what's new on Netflix for this week, and you'll see that the big red streaming machine has a lot of new true crime this week — including the Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields that's jumped up the top 10 (without controversy). 

Next: The Mandalorian season 3 release date has been slightly delayed. The secret Netflix Preview Club gives early access to shows and movies and the Fury vs Chisora live stream is almost here

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.