Crime + Punishment (2018) – Review

The documentary Crime + Punishment will be available to stream on Hulu beginning August 24th.

By Ulkar Alakbarova

Police corruption is terrifying. But how can we as civilians do to force the police to perform their primary duty truthfully, with respect and dignity? Crime + Punishment, directed by Stephen Maing, provides some food for thought. Still, I am afraid, the message it gives the audience is not clear. It forces a one-sided agenda and makes decisions on the audience’s behalf, especially viewers that will buy everything shown on screen, without researching themselves.

Crime + Punishment has an interesting way of telling this story. It follows NYPD supervisors that force officers to arrest or ticket a certain amount of people to maintain the city’s budget. Many officers come together to file a lawsuit against the NYPD. Talk about corruption and prejudice in the system follows. Its also implied that perhaps the entire issue stems from the mayor.

Mainly it’s the black community being targeted by police to earn their monthly “points.” The officer who performs better gets a promotion while the one who prefers to do the real job of law enforcement is disregarded. The arrest of Pedro Hernandez is used as a great example, highlighting ongoing issues, while the mayor insists the NYPD is not after quantity but quality.

At the same, this documentary tries to say that police are out there not to protect us but to bring us harm. It triggers feelings of despise toward officers, even those just there to do their job. For instance, the film emphasizes the fact that the areas with a higher number of committed crimes have more patrolmen than others. Makes perfect sense to me.

In conclusion, despite the one-sided take, Stephen Maing’s film is still an excellent doc. It’s well crafted and subtly narrated, pointing out many important issues I hope can be solved. Perhaps Crime + Punishment is worth watching with an open mind.

I give Crime + Punishment a B-.


[Want to write for TV and City? Shoot us an email at]