Netflix has brought forth some amazing true crime docu-series like Murdaugh Murders, Making a Murderer, Fear City New York vs. Mafia, and many more with gripping yet true accounts of events and an extremely interesting execution style that completely hooks the audience to the screen. Another organized crime docu-series, Get Gotti, directed by Sebastian Smith, was recently added to the list. Get Gotti is a compelling and intense story revolving around the 1980s Gambino clan boss, John Gotti. This three-part documentary series brought forth an intense anecdote of how John Gotti remained elusive to the FBI until some bugs placed in his headquarters revealed all his criminal deeds. The documentary series did a pretty good job portraying the true accounts of organized crime, the FBI’s constant effort to catch Gotti, and the mafia boss’s eventual downfall.
Get Gotti opened with the dead body of a crime boss, Paul Castellano, being found in Manhattan City. It was the Gambino clan leader, John Gotti, who ordered his men to kill Paul. From the very beginning, the FBI was well aware of who the murderer was, but they needed some solid evidence to put this notorious man behind bars. An Organized Crime Task Force was launched to investigate Gotti. They came up with the idea of bugging Gotti’s headquarters. At that time, the Berlin Hunt and the Fish Club were the actual headquarters of Gotti. The OCTF placed bugs, and it revealed some of the recordings of Gotti talking to his associates about their criminal misdeeds.
A refrigerator mechanic was previously physically assaulted by Gotti, but the guy never opened up himself, and neither did he provide viable testimony against Gotti. Gotti had always considered himself a big shot, which he was. He was extremely rich and dangerous, so the victim refrained from speaking out against him. Gotti was spared from any kind of conviction and managed to avoid jail time with the help of his defense legal team led by Bruce Cutler.
Afterward, John Gotti didn’t show any kind of remorse; rather, he became more violent and desperate to show off his expensive lifestyle. He liked to think of himself as a celebrity, and the media enjoyed making a celebrity out of Gotti. Gotti never wanted to forsake the feeling of celebrity and his luxurious lifestyle, but his extreme arrogance prompted him to continue his mistake, which was getting rid of people he didn’t like.
In the documentary series, not only those who investigated the case were interviewed, but also those who had been associated with Gotti. Former underworld members Anthony Ruggiano Jr. and Sal Polici talked about their experiences in the underworld and how they became associated with Gotti. It was almost impossible for the FBI to catch Gotti, who remained elusive even though he was put into prison. By that time, Gotti had never realized what it felt like to snatch anyone’s freedom. Finally, in 1990, John Gotti gained the freedom to continue his evil deeds. Some of the recordings from those bugs revealed Gotti killing five men, including Castellano, and gambling, Landsharking, evasion of tax, and many more. The defense team of John Gotti was hellbent on proving that Gotti wasn’t a criminal. However, in the year 1992, Gotti was finally found guilty and convicted of all the charges, including the murder case of Castellano. Gotti was given a lifetime prison sentence. Gotti didn’t have any possibility of getting parole. After a life filled with infamy, crimes, and killings, The Teflon Don accepted his prison sentence, losing his once-prominent status as the underworld boss. However, in 1998, Gotti was diagnosed with cancer and lost his life in the medical care of a federal prison.
Get Gotti is a shocking yet captivating tale of a person with a larger-than-life personality who had only been known for his criminal attributes. John Gotti was nothing but a cold-blooded killer with a vicious mindset; still, the media portrayed him as someone as famous as a Hollywood actor. Directed by Sebastian Smith, this documentary showed both the perspectives of FBI officers who investigated the case and the former underworld associates of Gotti, which made the series interesting to watch. But sometimes, the bombarding information can lose track of the show. Sometimes, it felt intentional that we’d get a closer look into John Gotti’s evil mindset. But at other times, the repetitive information seemed like an effort to fill in time.
With several flaws yet, most importantly, a gripping storyline, Get Gotti manages to draw an audience. However, even though the series was compelling, it sometimes makes us wonder about the subject matter. The glorification of Gotti in the media is a very necessary topic to discuss. Gotti enjoyed this attention, but being too public and even sometimes signing autographs were some eye-catching details in the documentary. The portrayal of John Gotti was also very glorified as a villain in the docu-series. We wonder how the media can refer to John Gotti as a Marvel hero when he was not even close to being a hero who saved someone’s life. The documentary series manages to portray how society becomes fascinated by the concept of antiheroes and villains, going so far as to defend them. It raises so many questions regarding the media’s responsibility.
The docuseries portrayed how the line between ethical and unethical presentation has been blurred, and that’s the reason John Gotti is portrayed as a larger-than-life figure who was nothing more than just a murderer. However, documentaries such as Get Gotti serve the purpose of letting people know about this media hypocrisy and the corruption within power dynamics. It raises awareness about the media, which has shaped the perception of human beings for all these years, raising vital questions as to why John Gotti has been differentiated from other criminals. The answer might be his money, charm, and prominence, which are enough to buy the attention of the media. Thanks to Netflix, we got to experience an intense yet occasionally drawn-up three-part docu-series of such a glorified villain and a questionable cultural icon, John Gotti.