(Documentary Series)

It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t in Britain in 2007 what living through the Madeleine McCann news cycle was like. At the time, the 3-year-old’s face was everywhere a picture could ever be replicated—on T-shirts, on posters, on fliers adorning car windshields, on banners over soccer stadiums, on every front page of every paper every day, on a giant inflatable billboard the News of the World commissioned to publicize its £1.5 million reward for information leading to Madeleine’s return. It felt like the biggest story U.K. newspapers had ever experienced. It never seemed to end. It never did; Madeleine remains missing, and the investigation into her disappearance continues to this day

The eeriest thing about watching The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann now is how efficiently it replicates what it was like to experience the story of Madeleine in real time. There was the visceral shock of the news when it first came, the monstrousness of a child being snatched from her bed in a Portuguese resort town while her parents had dinner nearby. The ferocity and hunger with which the media clamped down on the story and did not let go. The first wave of suspects, implicated, named, and damned by the tabloids before they’d so much as set foot inside a police station. The way the story spawned its own particular vernacular, like “the Tapas 7” and arguido. The details and insinuations and defamations and theories, unspooling hourly for audiences who could not get enough of them. – The Atlantic

A Netflix Original Production / Produced by Pulse UK & Paramount

Executive Producer: Emma Cooper

Director: Chris Smith

Editors: Michael Rolt, Matt Prekop, James Calderwood & Barry Poltermann