Who Killed Malcolm X? is a Netflix Original mini-docuseries released in 2019, created by Samantha Grogin. It follows an independent investigation into Malcolm X’s murder.
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Late last month, came out new evidence of the NYPD and the FBI’s involvement in the assassination of Malcolm X. A former undercover police officer, Raymond Wood, revealed in a letter his role in getting two of Malcolm’s security guys to be arrested by the FBI days before his murder.
I’m over-summarizing the case here, but you can read the details in the full article by Oliver Laughland on The Guardian, available in the description box below.
I think most people already strongly suspected of these agencies’ involvement, but the letter provided some of the specifics and one more piece of the puzzle. And that revelation is what prompted me to review this docuseries.
Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is just a regular guy who felt touched by Malcolm’s history and legacy and decided to investigate his assassination by himself. The docuseries follow his investigation, its findings, and conclusions.
In six episodes, the series explores Malcolm’s history, his relationship with the Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammad, their break up, and ultimately, his assassination.
The documentary interviews many historians, eye-witnesses, members of the Nation of Islam, and law enforcement of the time. It analyses documents from the NYPD, FBI, and the courts. It visits the places in which events occurred. All of it to bring a thorough investigation to the viewer.
It’s informative and very well detailed. It digs some information like the identity of the actual shooter and exposes the innocence of the two men falsely accused by the Justice System.
It also shows the cult-like behavior of many of the members of the Nation of Islam. We have the violent behavior of the FOI in the ’60s and the absolute lack of critical thinking from the present members.
To not generalize, some members giving an interview to Abdur-Rahman are really reasonable, particularly an elder and his son. Their final opinion about Malcolm’s shooter, I agree almost completely, despite the religious part.
The members of law enforcement interviewed are surprisingly not awful, differently from the assistant D.A., who’s really arrogant, deceptive, and has a smug face. What’s really revealing from these interviews is how they always saw Malcolm as the bad-guy, even though he was the victim.
The downside of the series is the length. There was absolutely no reason to be six episodes long. Because of it, the docuseries have a lot of unnecessary repetition and filler.
More than solving the mystery of who’s behind Malcolm’s death, as shooters and as who ordered it, this mini-series is essential to keep a guy like Malcolm X in the public discourse and to bring to light the innocence of the convicted shooters, especially Muhammad Aziz, who is still alive.
Who Killed Malcolm X? is a decent enough and informative docuseries. There are plenty of far worse docuseries produced by Netflix, but this one, although above the average, is not among the best. I’ll give Who Killed Malcolm X? 8 Moons.
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