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Surviving Jeffrey Epstein Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Daniel Bates, Rachel Benavidez, Marijke Chartouni
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein is the second docuseries that discusses the financier’s sexual crimes, mostly against minors, that landed him in prison in the mid-2000s — those convictions got overturned — and again in 2019, right before he was found dead in his cell. Unlike Netflix’s Filthy Rich, though, the four-part Lifetime docuseries, airing over two nights, will concentrate on Epstein’s victims. At least eight of the many then-underage victims who were recruited by either Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell or by one of the other minors that Epstein and Maxwell roped into recruiting friends to go to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for a “massage.”
Opening Shot: After a graphic that discusses Jeffrey Epstein’s suspected suicide in prison, and a note that, as of airing, no one but Epstein has been convicted of the crimes against his victims, we see some of his victims driving in their hometowns or walking through New York (pre-pandemic).
The Gist: In the first of the four hours, Virginia Giuffre, Courtney Wild and Jenna Lisa Jones talk about their experiences, with Giuffre having been recruited by Maxwell into the sexual assault ring and the other two having been recruited by friends. In all their cases, they were young — as young as 14, in Jones’ case — and from West Palm Beach and its working-class western suburbs. The idea of going to the island of Palm Beach and its exclusive mansions was enticing for them and the money seemingly easy, until Epstein initiated sexual contact with them. They kept going back, though, likely because they needed the money.
But they also came back because Epstein, and to a lesser extent Maxwell, used charm to get these vulnerable girls to do what they wanted them to do. During the hour, we also got some biographical information about Epstein, as well as some discussion about Maxwell and how the two of them came together. He was described as more or less a sociopath, and she wanted to keep the social status her father, publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, established before his death. She was his connection to people like the Clintons, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump, as we see in the now-familiar photos of all of them together.
Our Take: If you’ve seen Filthy Rich, you’ll see a lot of similar information in the first part of Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, especially the accounts of how he and Maxwell recruited victims, Palm Beach police interviews and the footage from when the PBPD searched his mansion. But executive producers Shura Davidson and Gena McCarthy are setting out to have the victims’ stories take the forefront.
Sure, there’s discussions with friends of Maxwell and with journalists who reported on the case. But, while Filthy Rich went into Epstein’s private island and which big names came and went from it, the victims will be this series’ focus. All of their stories will likely be how the story propels itself forward, as are discussions with attorney Alan Dershowitz (who has been fighting off Epstein-related stories about his alleged exploits) and others who agreed to talk to the producers.
The same feeling of anger and disgust we got while watching Filthy Rich comes up as we hear the victims tell their versions of how Epstein and Maxwell recruited and groomed them. And when the discussions about how Epstein gained his freedom in the mid-’00s come up, we’ll likely feel the same revulsion. But this time around, we also wanted to see how the victims have coped with being part of Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, if they’ve managed to get past it, and what the arrests of Epstein, his death and not the arrest of Maxwell will affect them.
There is a graphic that mentions that some of the interviews were conducted remotely post-lockdown. And there is news footage discussing Maxwell’s arrest in July. We hope the producers take this opportunity to wedge in some perspective about her arrest from some of the victims, even if it’s done via Zoom. Apparently the fourth episode was reworked to include the victims’ reactions to Maxwell’s arrest, as well as an increased focus on her throughout.
Parting Shot: Wilde, the attorney she hired to get information on the case, and others talk about how Epstein and Maxwell pretty much got away with operating this sex trafficking ring, despite being arrested and despite operating this ring at all of his properties in the U.S. and internationally.