Netflix’s Abducted in Plain Sight Elicits Fear, Paranoia

by The Cowl Editor on March 7, 2019

Film and Television

by Joshua Carone ’22 A&E Staff

   Currently, Netflix has a near monopoly on  producing true crime documentaries. From Making a Murderer to The Ted Bundy Tapes, the streaming service has significantly enabled the country’s addiction to the horrific and disturbed.

  Abducted In Plain Sight takes the addiction a step further. The documentary follows the harrowing story of Jan Broberg and her disappearance at the hands of family friend Robert Berchtold.


   Abducted In Plain Sight ticks off all of the boxes of a traditional true crime documentary with a young, innocent victim, a sick, perverted villain, and a family steeped in grief and sorrow. 

   Directed by Skye Borgman, Abducted In Plain Sight is a tight 90 minutes that has the potential to be a four-part docuseries at its current pace of ratings and audience approval. There are certainly enough subplots and background context to be further explored, and viewers are still questioning the parenting decisions days after finishing the doc.

  Without spoiling too much, the man referred to in the documentary as “B” groomed the Idaho- residing Broberg family through exploitation and blackmail, maintaining a ruse that led to two kidnappings and a lifetime of torment.

  His methods, combined with specific parenting decisions, have audiences punching walls and taking to Twitter to vent frustration. Even Netflix communicated the anxiety felt while watching its own film, tweeting, “weird how every time I try to write a tweet about Abducted In Plain Sight it just comes out as ‘WTF???’”

   The film is based on the book written by Mary Ann Broberg, titled Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story, a tell-all in which Broberg’s mother describes her experience with the man called “B.”

   Borgman recently conducted an interview with Vanity Fair, recounting her own journey with the Broberg family while making the film. She shared a similar reaction while directing the documentary as audiences did while watching it, commenting, “We spent so much time with them [the Brobergs] on the computer, going through what they had said, and [editing] things together. There were times when the family was just so frustrating to me.”

Abducted In Plain Sight continues to gain approval and attention, leading Americans further down a path that feeds into their obsession with real monsters.