We love a good unsolved mystery (Netflix can attest to that) and there are some mysteries that stand the test of time. Stories like Amelia Earhart, the Hope Diamond, disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, and the Somerton Man are told and retold to this day because there is something about a mystery that captures our imagination. One of the biggest unsolved mysteries of all time is the story of D.B. Cooper and HBO digs deeper into the case working to find out just what happened to the man after that infamous flight in their new documentary, THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER.
THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER is a feature-length documentary written and directed by John Dower, produced by Anna Stephens, executive-produced by Morgan Matthews, edited by Paul Carlin, and with music by Tim Atack and Lindsay Wright. If you aren’t familiar with the story of D.B. Cooper, it is as follows. In 1971, a man in a suit and sunglasses sits down in the back of a plane. While in the air, he reveals to the flight attendant that he is hijacking the plane and requesting $200,000.00 and four parachutes. Once his requests are received, he lets the passengers go, keeping only the flight attendant and the pilots. After going back in the air, this mysterious man dons a parachute, opens the plane door, and jumps out, never to be seen again. Years later, clues pointing to the fate of the famous hijacker show up in odd places, solving nothing but adding to the mystery.
This documentary not only introduces viewers to the crime that strangely won over the hearts and minds of the public but also looks at the possibility that D.B. may have lived through the jump and assumed a different life. THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER speaks to the friends and families of some of these individuals who confessed to the crime in confidence and those who believe them. Evidence is presented of their deceptions, evidence of their appearance (or a change in appearance), and evidence of double lives.
Here’s a “fun” fact that I wasn’t aware of about planes in the ’60s and ’70s. Planes were hijacked…a lot. Most of the time, planes were hijacked by Cuban nationals just trying to get home, so the passengers would ride along, grab some cigars in the sunshine and head back to the states. It was definitely a different time but because hijackings were such a casual occurrence, people didn’t respond to D.B. Cooper as you would expect. It was evident he had no intention or interest in hurting anyone and he split as soon as he got the money, but if he lived through the jump into the Washington wilderness is a whole other question.
Much like that of Jesse James or Bonnie and Clyde, D.B Cooper has reached a legendary status where people look at their crimes with reverence instead of disdain for breaking the law. Cooper went to great lengths to get his goal and no one was hurt, so people tend to say, “Good for him,” but why? THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER doesn’t look to solve this mystery but offers some possible conclusion that maybe this man of mystery survived and lived a full life, taking his secret with him until the end.
If you are someone that has heard the story of D.B. Cooper a dozen times, this documentary will offer up new information that you may not have heard before and a lot of information you probably already know but presented in an engaging way. It is treated as an investigation and doesn’t just throw information at your face, hoping it sticks. Listen to the first-hand stories of the people on the plane during the hijacking as well as the first-hand accounts of those who the suspects confessed to and then you can begin to draw your own conclusion. As to what truly happened to D. B Cooper after he leaped from the plane, we may never know.
Watch THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER November 25th on HBO and HBO Max.