Review: 'Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich' lets victims' voices be heard

Four-part docu-series on billionaire sex offender is on Netflix

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

The victims of Jeffrey Epstein are able to share their stories in "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich," the unsettling four-part docu-series from Netflix that details the crimes and patterns of abuse of the mysterious convicted sex offender and "brilliant narcissistic billionaire," as he's described within.  

Viewers hear from a number of Epstein's victims who detail their encounters with Epstein and the "molestation pyramid scheme" he built over many years in Palm Beach, Fla. 

Brad Edwards in "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich."

Epstein used his vast wealth and power to prey upon dozens of girls, often aged 13-15, who came from lesser means and saw fast money as a way out of their lives. Those girls would then recruit others, and so on. The fact that Epstein was able to get away with it for so long speaks to the power of money to open some doors and keep others shuttered under lock and key. 

The victims are the centerpiece here because the man himself is so tough to pinpoint. He was a shadowy figure who rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful but remained an enigma to even those with whom he was close.

That remains true throughout "Filthy Rich": his actions are described, but the psychology behind them is not. His fortune is discussed, though its origins are never quite explained. And since his death last year — even that is a mystery — he took many of his secrets to his grave. (Epstein is only heard from in the doc during scenes where he's strategically not answering questions during a deposition.) 

So we listen, and we empathize. Most everyone here — the girls who came into his orbit, his former colleagues, law enforcement officials — say they regretted ever meeting Epstein. "Filthy Rich" helps explain why. 

Yet it doesn't have all the answers. There's a bigger, broader story to be told about Epstein, his web of secrets, the network of the rich and powerful and the ways that money corrupts.

That will be a knockout. For now, "Filthy Rich" is a good start. 

'Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich'


TV-MA: disturbing accounts of sexual situations involving minors

On Netflix