Directors of Netflix true crime documentary reveal police department's response after viewers slam their 'incompetence'
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Featured Image Credit: Vallejo Police Department/Netflix
It's hard to believe that Netflix's latest jaw-dropping true crime series American Nightmare only landed on the streaming service a week ago.
Since then, the three-part thriller has soared straight to the No. 1 spot, instigated discussions surrounding police work in the States, and left millions of viewers 'in a state of shock'.
And you only have to watch the first 30 minutes of Episode One to see why...
This spine-tinging series tells the tale of Aaron Quinn and Denise Huskins, a Vallejo, California couple who were plunged headfirst into their worst nightmare back in 2015.
The pair were woken up at their home in the middle of the night by intruders wearing wetsuits, who threw a blind-folded Denise in the trunk of their car and sped off.
Aaron telephoned the police the next day - having been sedated the night before - to inform them she'd been kidnapped for ransom.
Detective Mat Mustard - lead of the case - questioned Aaron, telling him his story resembled that told in 2014 blockbuster Gone Girl, and labelled him the prime suspect, accusing him of killing his girlfriend.
However, in a totally unexpected twist of fate - which mirrored the plot in the Ben Affleck/Rosamund Pike crime drama - a missing Denise staggered viewers by reappearing on CCTV three days later near her Huntington Beach family home.
She corroborated Aaron's claims about being taken, and revealed she was transported to a remote cabin, where she was further drugged and tragically raped before being released.
Though the widely-popular documentary was predominantly produced with the aim of telling the harrowing story of Denise's abduction, sexual assault and subsequent recovery, the majority of viewers have since claimed that the 'real horror' of the show is the behaviour exhibited by the authorities.
Instead of hunting down the man that had harmed Denise - who, as the final episode explains, is finally caught following another crime a year later - the documentary shows officers, led by Mustard, branding her story a 'hoax'.
The controversial detective was later revealed to have lied about Aaron's lie detector results, telling him he'd 'failed miserably', despite the fact the results were inconclusive.
In a press conference at the time, Vallejo police Lt. Kenny Park also stated: "If anything, it is Miss Huskins who owes this community an apology."
Officers even attempted to prosecute the couple for lying to the police and wasting their time, just months before Mustard was awarded Officer of the Year after Denise's case.
And viewers have since been unable to hold back when it comes to their verdict on the show.
"OMG This documentary makes me want to choke the life out of these lazy a** cops !!! This is a perfect example of why victims don’t come out and speak ! Fear of being prosecuted or drug through the mud," one person tweeted.
This week, however, the filmmakers behind this chilling series have opened up on trying to get a response from the police and officer Mat Mustard.
Bernadette Higgins and Felicity Morris told The Mirror that both the a Vallejo PD and the FBI had declined to comment on the case, adding that it's a 'real shame' that Mat Mustard refused to speak out.
Bernadette told the paper: "We approached both the a Vallejo PD and the FBI and told them that we were making the series and asked them if they would be willing to give us interviews. But, we basically just got the standard formal response saying that they were declining the invitation to take part.
"We think that's a real shame because it's kind of just turning their backs on the situation when it could have been an opportunity for them to be humble and to say 'we are fully aware of how mistakes were made and this is what we've changed since and this is how we now approach victims of crimes'.
"They could have said something which could have perhaps showed there's been an opportunity for learning here and maybe things are different now and that they've all grown from the experience. But that hasn't happened."
Bernadette added that it would have been 'great' if the police and Mustard could have 'explained why they jumped to the conclusions that they did and helped us understand'.
Felicity said: "What was clear with Aaron was that they just wanted to get a confession. They weren't listening to him tell his story, which he told them over and over again.
"They weren't interrogating the facts very quickly. It turned into get a confession and get this guy to confess."
She went on: "Aaron nearly snapped under that pressure. He started to sort of disbelieve his own truth and then for us to then see that the same approach happened with Denise.
"You watch those tapes back and the Detective Matt Mustard, he's barely taking any notes as she's talking."