With the success of the first Manhunt series on Netflix about Eric Rudolph, the Unabomber from the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the public wanted more. CBS released a new season about the security guard, Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of the planting of the bomb. The 10-episode starts Cameron Britton, Jay O. Sanders, Judith Light, and Carla Gugino.
As you navigate through each episode, the story has you wondering how real this story is. While the accounts of the FBI investigation are blended between fiction and nonfiction, the overall story of Jewell being falsely accused is 100% accurate. Jewell was painted as the suspect by the media, which hurt Jewell’s professional and personal life.
While the Olympics are the Best Bonus of the summer, the year 1996 was a tragic opening. The Olympics held an opening concert at Centennial Olympic Park, which was designed as the “town square” of the Olympics. Thousands of spectators had gathered for a late concert and partying. Around sometime after midnight, a bomb planted inside a green backpack was under a park bench. The backpack contained a fragmentation-laden pipe bomb, which dispersed nails.
It was Jewell that noticed the backpack and altered security guards, who began trying to immediately clear out the area. The squad had around 13-minute to clear out as many as possible. All in all, over 110 people were injured, while three people died.
Initially, Jewell was regarded as a hero for helping evacuate the area after he spotted the package. Just three days later, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that the FBI was treating him as a possible suspect. The FBI believed that Jewell used the bomb to turn himself into a hero. The media portrayed Jewell as a failed law enforcement officer that might have used the bomb to turn his life around, become a hero, and lead himself into fame.
Even though there was no evidence against him, Jewell was continued to be questioned. Eventually, officials realized that it was Rudolph that was a bomber. Rudolph had set off bombs at multiple abortion clinics, as well as a Vegas strip club. In the end, they found enough evidence to support that the bombings were linked due to the construction of the bomb.
Three months later Jewell was cleared, but Rudolph was not officially captured until 2003 and charged to live in prison in 2005. After his name was cleared, Jewell filed multiple lawsuits against many newspaper outlets. While Jewell was on the public record for saying that he filed the lawsuits to clear his name, he was rewarded with a large amount of money. Each year, Jewell would return to lay a rose for Alice Hawthorne, who perished at the scene. Jewell eventually married in 2001 and passed away in 2007. All in all, the series on Netflix depicts the events well, while many of the conflicts integrated were used for dramatic effect.