Netflix fans should watch this before the Jennifer Pan documentary

Daisy Phillipson
Jennifer Pan as shown in JCS and What Jennifer Did

As Netflix gears up for its next big true crime release – What Jennifer Did, a documentary on the Jennifer Pan case – there’s one thing you should put on your watch list before it drops. 

Jennifer Pan is a well-known name in the true crime world. Though her crimes might not have matched the horrors of, say, Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer, what makes the case so chilling is how personal it is. 

For the uninitiated, in 2010, Pan spearheaded a kill-for-hire attack on her parents and attempted to play the victim. Why did she choose this path? Because she was failing in her education and wasn’t allowed to see her drug dealer boyfriend. Pan paid for the hit, leaving her mother dead and her father with serious injuries. 

What came next played out like a drama movie. Pan was initially brought in to help the police, but the detective noticed some holes in her story, not to mention her strange behavior, and soon they came to believe they weren’t dealing with the victim – instead, they were working with an attempted murderer. 

Netflix fans should watch JCS before the Jennifer Pan documentary

The Pan case was explored three years ago by JCS – Criminal Psychology, a YouTuber who uploads in-depth analysis on police interrogations and criminal cases. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, I highly recommend giving this a go before Netflix’s What Jennifer Did. 

At the time of writing, his video, titled ‘Jennifer’s Solution’, has received a whopping 42 million views. View counts like this aren’t unusual for JCS, and his videos are considered some of the best in the true crime genre.

In fact, in my humble opinion, he’s the best true crime YouTuber on the circuit, offering expert analysis that has led me to believe he has genuine experience in criminal psychology. By explaining interrogation techniques, body language cues, and psychological strategies utilized by law enforcement, with insightful commentary into the suspects’ minds, he’s taught me so much about this world. 

Alongside informative content, JCS has a very unique way of engaging viewers with opinions and jokes where appropriate, but never in a way that feels exploitative. It may take a minute to get used to his style, but once you’re in, you’re in

His videos have spawned a whole movement within the genre – type any high-profile crime case into YouTube, and you can guarantee there’ll be a “JCS-inspired” deep dive. And it appears this is spilling over into streaming, too. 

Are streaming platforms poaching JCS?

Years ago, JCS uploaded a series on Chris Watts, the convicted killer who murdered his wife and two young daughters. A year later, Netflix dropped its own documentary on the case, titled American Murder: The Family Next Door. This seems to be a trend, whether intentional or not. 

Firstly, I stand by my opinion that there’s no better analysis of the case than the two JCS videos, which offer an in-depth analysis of the psychological tactics utilized by the interrogators and polygraph examiner

Still from Chris Watts' interrogation with analysis from JCS
JCS breaks down the interrogation bit-by-bit

At any moment, Watts could have asked for a lawyer. The police had no physical evidence; just their suspicions. But through meticulous attention to detail and smart tactics, they were eventually able to get a full confession out of him and a subsequent conviction. 

JCS breaks this down bit-by-bit, using text over the screen and narrative asides to show moments that would appear to the novice (myself included) like an inconsequential exchange – my jaw hit the floor when realizing the examiner’s black-and-white striped jacket alluded to prison clothing, a subtle way to place pressure on Watts before taking the polygraph test. 

While Netflix’s documentary is solid and a great introduction to Watts’s crime, it pales in comparison to JCS’s educational deep dive. Don’t get me wrong, there’s room for both, and I think it’s great that mainstream outlets are picking up these cases. But this is more a plea to other true crime fans to check out JCS’s videos before watching the streamers’ efforts. 

This is particularly pertinent now that Netflix is releasing its Jennifer Pan documentary. As the YouTuber’s top-viewed feature, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the creators felt inspired to offer their own take on the case. 

And it’s not just Netflix — next week, Paramount Plus is releasing Ctrl+Alt+Desire, a docuseries on Grant Amato, who was convicted of murdering his mother, father, and brother back in 2019. JCS covered this in great detail in his video ‘Son Spends $275,000 of Dad’s Money on Virtual Girlfriend’, which has been viewed nearly 10 million times. 

So, if you’re a true crime fan and you haven’t had a chance yet, I highly recommend putting JCS on your watch list — because when it comes to unraveling the complexities of criminal psychology, his analysis is second to none.

What Jennifer Did drops on Netflix on April 10, 2024. For more true crime, check out our roundup of all the documentaries heading to streaming this month. And you can also find all of the movies to add to your watchlist this April.