A blind man in a forest with a camera set up beside him.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Shot in the Dark

The Lives of Real Nightcrawlers

By Jassareth Alanis-Ponce Contributor

The Netflix original documentary “Shot in the Dark” is not for the faint of heart. It’s cutthroat and unapologetically real. Every scene is filled with fires, crashes and misery. The following review contains minor spoilers.

The series follows the stories of three stringers in Los Angeles.

Howard Raishbrook, Scott Lane and Zak Holman are the best at what they do. All from competing organizations, the videography journalists are ready to outshine each other without a hint of hesitation.

The first episode, “The Hustle,” showcases the intense nature of being a stringer in Los Angeles. Howard, Scott and Zak work with police scanners on deck in order to sell footage for top dollar to news stations. Reminiscent of “Nightcrawler,” the show documents the reality of a stringer’s hunt for everyday horrific incidents.

In the second episode, “Crash and Burn,” the series hurdles into the action. Howard’s brother, who is also a stringer, has been looking to catch footage of a car being hit when he suddenly gets what he’s been waiting for. Flames consume the damaged car on a busy freeway. Howard’s brother is suddenly hit with the realization that there is an unconscious person in the car, and he abandons his camera and springs into action. He pulls the unconscious man out of the vehicle and away from the flames. With that, the shaken stringer who brushed death becomes a part of the news story of the night.

“Shot in the Dark” reveals that the life of a professional stringer is not all fun and games. Like most jobs, it comes with difficulties. The series shines a light on the complexity of a profession that is primarily composed of filming tragic incidents and people at their worst in the name of journalism and news.

Although it’s an interesting watch for the reasons that people rubberneck when they see a car crash on the side of the road, it fails to go into depth about the ethical implications of this profession. It brings up the question of whether the media needs to display violent footage in order to get a story across.

This show is not a moral debate and doesn’t pretend to be. It’s about competition and what it takes to get the shot that will make the most money. “Spot in the Dark” is worth the watch due to its intensity and spotlight on a profession that not many know about.


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