Art & Entertainment

'Can I Tell You A Secret?' On Netflix Review: This Docu-Series Around Cyberbullying Bites Off More Than It Can Chew

Outlook Rating:
2 / 5

'Can I Tell You A Secret?' deals with the lives of women who narrate the horrors of cyberbullying. Is this true-crime docu-series worth watching? Or you can skip it? Read the full review to find out.


A still from 'Can I Tell You A Secret?' Photo: Netflix

There have been numerous documentaries and docu-series that have been made by OTT platforms on cyberstalking and cybercrimes. And honestly, there is no issue with that because the web of cybercrimes is so deep that by the time you peel one layer, hundreds of other layers crop up like mushrooms. Netflix has recently released another docu-series on this same subject. Titled ‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’, the series revolves around women who narrate the horrors of being stalked and their identities stolen. In case you are planning to watch this true crime docu-series over the weekend, here’s all you need to know about it.


‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’: Story

This two-part docu-series talks about bullying and harassment on social media. The series features several women who openly share their personal and professional journey on social media. However, things go south when they start receiving mocking messages from a stranger on the internet. What starts as mocking and taunting messages takes a dark turn. The stranger uses their identity and wreaks havoc in their personal life as well. The stranger uses personal details and intimate pictures of the women and leads them to precarious situations. The series revolves around how these women tried to track the man down when they did not receive any help from the police. However, when the police realize the gravity of the crime, they take note, and the man is punished for his actions.


‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’: Performances

Being a docu-series, there is not much to talk about performances. The series was based on the interviews and the narrations of the women who were stalked and bullied by the perpetrator. Only a few scenes were enacted for the series, and they did the job well. The reenacted scenes helped set the tone of the series without reducing it to a daily soap with OTT reactions. A major part of the reenacted scenes had cut out the faces and it only showed the body. The body language imparted a sense of fear and urgency which was in tune with what the series wanted to portray.

‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

What works well for ‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’ is that it relies heavily on anecdotes shared by the women who were stalked and bullied. As they tell their stories in detail, you can see the horrors they went through and how it impacted them and continues to impact them. The series has rightfully given the platform to these women to come forward and share their stories when they were spurned by the police. As the series relies on quotes and evidence provided by people, it helps you realize the gravity of the crimes. Frankly, this is the only good part about it.


The two parts feel rushed. It feels that the director wanted to include a lot of details, but they had their mind set on making just two episodes. The story is great, and it holds substance in the digital-first world of today. If they chose to go with four or five shorter episodes that collated the incident in crisp detail, this series would have been the perfect binge. However, it feels like a wasted opportunity.

As the series draws to a close, we are introduced to the perpetrator. It is revealed that the man is autistic, and his undiagnosed condition has made him commit these crimes. The part where the docu-series deals with his trial is rushed and it takes you time to figure out what exactly is happening because so many people are saying so many things. While it’s understandable that the crimes he committed deserve punishment the fact that the docu-series did not create any awareness about autism made it worse. It stereotyped all autistic people in one category. Neither was the part where they talked about how autism was dealt with sensitively. This is in no way reducing the pain the women went through, but a little sensitivity would have been great.


‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’: Cast & Crew

Director: Liza Williams

Available On: Netflix

Duration: 2 episodes (52 minutes each approximately)

Language: English

‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’ is a compact docu-series that tells the horrors of cyberbullying faced by numerous women in the United Kingdom in two episodes. The two-episode approach is exactly what brings the series down. In the first episode, a lot of things were touched upon, and it gave me a lot of expectations. But that episode bit off more than it could chew, and the series was just underwhelming. The subject matter is great and riveting but it only needed some more substance. In a rush to make a compact series, important pointers were missed, and the series just feels rushed. It feels like a scrapbook that has no cohesion; just countless memories taped on hoping it would make sense. I had a lot of expectations from this docu-series, but it was a letdown. I am going with 2 stars.