On June 30, Netflix debuted its latest big-ticket true-crime documentary, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, a three-part deep dive into the extravagant life and mysterious death of a French television producer who was killed at her vacation home in southern Ireland in 1996. The series drew praise from European critics, with the Telegraph and the Independent both giving Sophie four stars, and the Irish Times calling it “gripping” and praising it for bringing “the victim to life as a woman full of passion.” Stateside, however, Sophie failed to generate similar interest: Review aggregator Metacritic lists just two entries from U.S.-based publications, and an essay in BuzzFeed said that while the series “wrestles with the allure of the dead white woman”—a growing criticism of true crime—it ultimately doesn’t rise above the trappings of the genre.
None of that seemed to deter viewers from tuning in, though. Sophie debuted at no. 4 in Netflix’s daily top 10 on July 1 and spent six days on the list. Despite the limited domestic attention paid to Sophie outside the platform, the series became the latest in a long line of recent true-crime docs to garner substantial buzz.
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