Story: Toni Henthorn was on an anniversary getaway when she fell to her death, after a hike with her husband Harold turned tragic. Harold reported that he climbed down to her landing location and performed CPR, then alerted the authorities, but help was too late. The scenario left a lot of questions to be answers, as Harold’s story had some inconsistencies, not to mention he and Toni being on a very dangerous section of the woods, despite neither having much hiking experience. Since this happened in a National Park, the Investigative Services Branch of the Park Service, who quickly realize there is more to this case that meets the eye. Did Toni simply slip and fall, as Harold claimed or was there a darker truth and can the truth be uncovered at last?
Entertainment Value: This docuseries more than lives up to its name, as the crime took place in the wilds of a National Park and the case itself is quite, to be sure. The scenario seems to simple at first blush, a case of pushed vs. fall, but as the episodes roll on, we’re shown how complicated even the simplest of mysteries can be. I do have to say that I feel like over the course of the four episodes, the same ground is covered several times in some instances, but the repetition isn’t that often and I don’t think it throws off the flow of the series. I don’t think the rehashes are needed, especially in such a short set of episodes, but it wasn’t a distraction at all. The case itself is quite interesting and has some twists and turns, though the truth seems rather obvious, so the docuseries has a fresh element in that sense. The core premise is how to prove Harold was involved or not, based on limited evidence around a crime that is tough to convict on under the best of circumstances.
I think that’s why there is more repeated information than normal, as procedure takes the driver’s seat and perhaps the filmmakers wanted to recap so as not to lose the audience. This is fairly common in these true crime docuseries, to refresh case details or reference a connection to an earlier clue, just not as often as it happens here. I appreciated the breadth of participants involved, from media that covered the case to park service workers to investigators, so a lot of perspectives are offered, almost all of which have first hand involvement in the case. The production values are slick and polished, as you’d expect from an ABC News docuseries, so it is pleasant to watch and well edited, so aside from the repetition, there’s a good pace and flow here. I wasn’t bowled over by Wild Crime, but it was a solid watch and will likely keep true crime fans tuned in.