TV Review: Doubt – The Scott Watson Case on TVNZ1

As an exercise in cinematography there were some great shots. As an exercise in investigative journalism, director Yvonne Mackay and presenter Chris Gallavin delivered no shots at all.

At a cost of a million dollars, Mackay reheated old material and succeeded in conning another generation of New Zealanders into believing double murderer Scott Watson is innocent.

Gallavin, a law professor, should have known  better. He perpetuated some of the biggest lies of all in this reviewer’s opinion. Here’s why.

The programme from the get go visually presented the mystery man as different from Watson, and they rode that horse to the finish line. The mystery man was pictured wearing a multicoloured bomber jacket, when the witness statements actually said he wore the same clothes as Watson and was the same height and hair style as Watson. There was no multicoloured jacket in the case.

Nor was the mystery man’s hair long and Scott’s short as portrayed in the movie. Watson’s own brother and sister in law, Tom and Trudy Watson, admitted in their police statements that when they saw Scott at the time his hair was “wavy…longer…down past his collar”. This discrepancy in the prime suspect’s portrayal was not addressed in Gallavin’s amateurish approach. No witness statements contrasting the Watson/Mystery Man similarities were highlighted.

The programme attempted to bamboozle the public with multiple ketch sightings, without bothering to cross reference these with the known movements of the Alliance.

Again, a one-hand clap for smoke and mirrors TV, but nothing for substance as there wasn’t any.

By the time Gallavin unquestioningly stated that Watson painted his boat at Erie Bay, it felt like the programme was a lost cause of untruths fronted by a useful idiot law professor who reminded me of the old adage, “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”. The Watson repaint at Erie Bay, and in fact the entire Erie Bay trip, has been utterly debunked.

To go on national TV and stick to the Erie Bay story without reference to the controversy was utterly dishonest in my view, both from the director but especially the presenter.

I hope the paycheck was worth the sacrifice of integrity that Doubt: The Scott Watson Case, represents.

Ian Wishart is the author of three books on the Watson case, and is tonight presenting a free online webinar to go over the real evidence the documentary failed to cover. Free tickets to watch it online are available here