Depp v. Heard review: Is the Netflix documentary worth watching?

A poster of the Netflix docuseries (image via Netflix)
A poster of the Netflix docuseries (image via Netflix)

Depp v. Heard, a new documentary from Netflix, reportedly goes deeper into the well-reported defamation case involving Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The docuseries' trailer, which combines live-streamed and broadcast material from the trial, has already been made available on Netflix.

The trial started in April 2022 and ended in June 2022, when the jury found that Heard and Depp were both responsible for defamation in their respective lawsuits against one another.

The three-part documentary, which was directed by The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes director Emma Cooper, was shown on Channel 4 in May 2023. Netflix began streaming Depp v. Heard on August 16, 2023.

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The docuseries explores the legal conflict between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, illuminating the nuances of their well-publicized litigation. Director Emma Cooper assembles a collection of discussions from podcasts and YouTube, memes from TikTok, and news reports to portray many points of view.

She does this less with the purpose of coming to any type of conclusion at the end—perhaps not about which party is telling the truth, but rather about what this tale implies for the post-#MeToo culture—and instead gives the series an uncertainty that feels more like a tasteless true-crime mystery.


Netflix's Depp v. Heard can be regarded as a futile attempt

The docuseries Depp v. Heard attempts to express something meaningful about the circus-like trial scheduled for 2022 while simultaneously adding another leering ring to it.

Alas, highlighting the social media craze that surrounds the case is more aggravating than instructive, with the filmmakers' decision to juxtapose the divergent narratives of the two main characters being the only truly valuable aspect.

In the first installment of the three-part series Depp v. Heard, it appears that the focus will be on social media's influence on the public's and potential jurors' perceptions of the case as well as how misogyny gave rise to one of the largest harassment campaigns the internet has seen since #GamerGate.

Furthermore, it appears as though the insertion of video from chauvinistic, pro-Depp commentators in the first episode was a deliberate formal decision that would ultimately be reversed in the subsequent episodes.

However, as the show progresses, a disproportionate amount of screen time is given to the uneducated and overtly sexist opponents of the Aquaman actress, which feels counterproductive to the pervasive misinformation it tepidly attempts to highlight.

Nevertheless, there are sporadic attempts to support Heard's evidence, such as the controversy with the Milani Cosmetics compact Heard's attorney allegedly used to show how she would conceal her purported wounds from her marriage but was falsely denied by the cosmetics firm.

Depp v. Heard appears to be intended to let the audience relive the trial as a cheap thrill, which may explain why the court footage was overlaid with tasteless soap opera music.

Although the series toes the line between analysis and suspense, it is far too committed to keeping things vague for the sake of suspense and perhaps out of concern for legal repercussions.

The series focuses on the pro-Johnny Depp camp while completely disregarding the more serious aspects of the case.


The Netflix docuseries Depp v. Heard was released on August 16, 2023. It has completely missed the mark in light of providing any introspective view about the case and rather is an amalgamation of social media frenzy.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande