‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’ Review: A Thrilling Documentary About A Cyber Stalker

There is no dearth of true crime documentaries on Netflix. Most of these documentaries cover the ways in which the subject targeted women until the authorities finally tracked them down. Tinder Swindler, Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, The Keepers, and The Ripper are some examples of true crime documentaries released by Netflix, and the streaming giant has somehow aced this form of content. Yet another addition to this genre is Liza Williams’ Can I Tell You a Secret, which chronicles the story of a man who cyberbullied countless women in his vicinity. This two-part documentary miniseries was released on February 21, 2024.


The documentary begins with Zoe, Abby, and Lia, the victims of the stalker, discussing in detail how a random stranger contacted them on their phone through Snapchat and Instagram and began to bully them. It began as a normal conversation, which turned into a nightmare for the women as the person from the other side began to create countless fake profiles and target their family and friends. All three women were social media influencers, and the stalker managed to get hold of a lot of their information available online and used it against them.

The women did not have any secrets themselves, but the person on the other end of the phone managed to ruin their relationships with family, friends, and exes by creating a false narrative about them. This also led to photographs getting leaked which created havoc in their lives. All of them had, at one point, approached the local police. Since the crime did not involve any acts of violence, the police were helpless. All women were clueless about who was constantly harassing them, as this person’s identity remained clouded for a long time.


Since the documentary series is based on a true story that took place in the UK, those who followed the news as it unfolded know how things ended. This documentary is released primarily for a global audience that should be made aware of this cyber stalker. The person single-handedly managed to target confident women, who eventually retreated back into their shells because of the relentless online harassment with no help in sight. Was the person arrested? Did this person know the women he targeted? All these questions are covered in the thriller of a documentary.

The documentary only has two episodes, and each one has a runtime of 51 minutes. In a hundred and two minutes of runtime, the series managed to capture the terror faced by Zoe, Abby, Lia, and Amy during those months when they did not feel safe because of the creepy messages. Since the director is a woman, she represents the story in a way that allows the viewers to understand the fear women face daily of being harassed outside or while on social media. The women who are targeted explain in detail about their ordeal, which is necessary to understand the depth of the crime committed by the accused. 


There is no stone left unturned by these women to describe how they never wanted to get out of the house after a point. The screenplay is tight though the first episode feels like a drag in the beginning. The viewers could feel that these survivors were only beating around the bush. A little bit of patience in the long runtime of the episode will help the viewers come close to understanding how serious this crime was, all while the law-and-order officials did nothing initially to save these women from being harassed incessantly.

There are a lot of indications of how the local police indirectly blamed the women and refused to file a cyberbullying complaint against the person harassing the women. Most of the women complained about having received no support from the local police to curb this nuisance. This indicates law and order officers tend to lecture women on how to live their lives and refuse to help in their times of adversity. One could notice how women are the target of the accused and the police. It is heartbreaking to watch a woman become a target for no reason, and for men to then find ways to blame them for their actions. The distressing emotion is dealt with with extreme sensitivity, and women also feel comfortable sharing their trauma in detail.


The documentary also sheds light on the kids who are born with autism spectrum disorder, but the ailment remains undiagnosed for many years. Such kids are victims of bullying during their school days. Children are not made aware of this issue, which further causes trauma that damages their mental health that could take years to overcome. Since the accused was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a lot of focus was on the fact that the person would be given a reduced sentence on account of the state of his mental health. A mental health expert who has an autism spectrum disorder speaks in detail about how the accused and their mental state would further add to the stereotype about others who suffer from the same ailment. The documentary opened the discussion about the spectrum and how different people react differently to diagnoses.

The documentary also focuses on Kevin, the police officer who was hell-bent on helping the women who were the targets of the accused since the late 2000’s. He is probably one of the few officers of the law who was keen on arresting the person and has been successful in doing so. The name of the accused is widely publicized in the documentary, and people need to watch the two-part series to know the identity of the stalker.


Can I Tell You a Secret? also gives an insight into how social media can be used to turn people against each other and could cost people their family and friends. These social media influencers have a standing in the digital world, but it is their family and friends that keep them grounded, and their support allows them to grow organically. The stalker’s ability to break up years of relationships and friends by hacking and creating multiple fake profiles proves people have become gullible to what they see and hear on several social media accounts. The ending was predictable, as many are aware of the fate of the stalker, but the fear of the person going back to indulging in the same cybercrime is palpable.

Overall, the documentary is excellent, and it was smart of the makers to restrict the show to only two episodes and not stretch it beyond a certain point. This true crime documentary deserves your attention. Give it a watch.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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Overall, the documentary is excellent, and it was smart of the makers to restrict the show to only two episodes and not stretch it beyond a certain point. This true crime documentary deserves your attention. Give it a watch.'Can I Tell You A Secret?' Review: A Thrilling Documentary About A Cyber Stalker