This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist is a 4-part docuseries, directed by Colin Barincle, concerning the March 18, 1990 theft on the Gardner Museum, ensuing within the lack of 13 items that on the time have been value round $200 million, and at one level have been value round $500 million. Some of the items have been uncommon items by Rembrandt and Vermeer, plus different odds and ends like an historic Chinese vase and an eagle finial on high of a flagpole holding a flag utilized by Napoleon. Read on for extra.
Opening Shot: Night scenes of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A voice says, “The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was an artwork thief’s delight.”
The Gist: The first episode talks concerning the distinctive museum, which Gardner constructed and opened in 1903. As the previous guards who’re interviewed state, it is a museum that is an architectural surprise; plain on the skin, its gaudily-decorated galleries which appear like rooms in a Victorian-era mansion are located round an enclosed atrium that looks like a lush backyard. The works that Gardner collected have been a bit eclectic however there was a theme: The extra practical work of the Baroque period of the seventeenth century.
As the accounts of the evening point out, the museum was guarded by two guards on the evening watch, and at one level, two males dressed as Boston cops come to the door saying they’d experiences of a disturbance. They have been let in, they handcuffed each guards, and mentioned “This is a theft.” Then, after duct taping the guards and sticking them within the basement, they spent a tremendous 81 minutes roving the museum and chopping work out of frames. They appeared to know precisely the items they wished, however in some way managed to take a Rembrandt self-portrait off the wall however did not take it.
One of the guards, Richard Abath, was discovered tied up in a really odd method, particularly round his head. The notion of an inside job begins from there, particularly as a result of he briefly opened and closed a aspect door in some unspecified time in the future earlier than the robbers entered, and numerous safety programs failed. But one other facet that is mentioned is simply who would need stolen artwork that’s that prime profile. Is it an organized crime syndicate? An unethical collector? Someone else?
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Although This Is A Robbery is a real crime docuseries, it has a special really feel than the murder-related ones Netflix produces. It’s extra akin to the streamer’s different heist-related docuseries, Evil Genius. Heist investigations will be much more sophisticated than homicide investigations, as each sequence show.
Our Take: Barnicle takes his time within the first episode of This Is A Robbery, and generally that is to the show’s detriment. For all of the crime scene images displaying smashed glass and empty frames, with graphics displaying the trail the thieves took to get to the works they stole, the act itself wasn’t all that sophisticated. The thieves dressed like cops, they handcuffed the guards they usually took a remarkably lengthy period of time to take the works they wished to take.
What we’re attempting to elucidate is that there isn’t any head of steam that Barnicle can construct in the direction of within the first episode, culminating within the theft. So he goes over how Boston’s cops have been concentrating on the drunken revelry of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and the way iconoclastic Gardner was. We get interviews with numerous guards, reporters and regulation enforcement, together with the FBI brokers who have been in control of the crime scene as soon as they arrived.
But the extra fascinating facet of the case is not the theft itself. Let’s face it; it wasn’t some complicated Oceans’ 11 type of caper. In numerous methods, it was extra of a smash-and-grab operation, with the foreknowledge of what the museum’s structure was and the place every bit was situated. What’s going to be extra fascinating is the investigation into simply who ordered this and what this individual or individuals will do with vital works like Rembrandt’s solely seascape.
You have to comprehend that, whereas a few of these works have been noticed right here and there, they’re nonetheless lacking 31 years after the theft. Where have they gone? Are they rolled up in some warehouse someplace? Have they been offered? Destroyed? It’s one thing we hope Barnicle will look at, together with the seemingly insufficient safety measures within the uncommon museum.
Parting Shot: We hear the voice of Richard Abath saying, “Well I used to be the man who opened up the door. They’re clearly going to be taking a look at me.”
Sleeper Star: We felt unhealthy after we noticed Anne Hawley, the director employed six months prior to show across the museum’s fortunes, get pelted by questions from reporters on the time, although she appeared to take it in stride in her present interview. But former safety guard Helen Sangregory was the star of this primary episode, primarily due to how trippy she was discussing the museum and the theft.
Most Pilot-y Line: Not actually positive what the purpose was of displaying present and previous clips of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, at the very least to the extent that they have been proven.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Despite the primary episode’s draggy tempo, the aftermath of the Gardner Museum theft is what is going to preserve us watching This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about meals, leisure, parenting and tech, however he would not child himself: he is a TV junkie. His writing has appeared within the New York Times, Slate, Salon, , , Fast Company and elsewhere.