After rewriting the Netflix documentary formula with 2019’s Dont F**k With Cats, showrunner Felicity Morris brings another irresistible yet bizarre crime-caper to the table. Meet The Tinder Swindler, the main culprit in Netflix’s latest crime documentary:
Across two hours of brilliant narrative-building, The Tinder Swindler follows the story of three women who, in the midst of their dating app escapades, come across a jet-setting bachelor by the name of Simon Leviev. While his profile did seem a bit extravagant and flashy, the women decided to get invested – much to their later regret.
Cecile, a young Norwegian who boasts of a match-count in the thousands, did her due diligence before swiping on Leviev—a quick Google search that revealed nothing particularly suspicious. The two met for coffee and sparked off a whirlwind romance – Cecile would be flown off to wherever Leviev was in Europe at the time, as the two wined, dined, and courted like there was no tomorrow.
Just as Cecile was firmly head-over-heels in love came the red flags, in the form of requests for – you guessed it – money. Leviev claimed that his ‘enemies’ were after him, and were looking to get him killed.
While it’s easy to blame Ceclie for being naive and too trusting, everything’s straightforward in hindsight, isn’t it?
It’s soon brought to light that Leviev was less charming-troubled-businessman, and more of well, a professional charlatan. We learn that he’s pulled off this con with potentially dozens of women – looting an estimated $10 million in the process. The three women in the documentary were asked for amounts ranging from $30,000 to an eye-watering $140,000—which they all scrambled to collect.
Again, let’s be honest—we won’t blame you if you’re rubbing your forehead in confusion right now:
— Georgina (@GinaLouLoves) February 2, 2022
The motive of the crime? It appears that Leviev went through all this trouble simply to live life, extra-large— leaving behind empty wallets and scores of broken hearts. Cecile described her early weeks with Leviev as a ‘romantic comedy’, while another victim named Ayleen said that when the curtain was lifted on his lies, she felt like she was in a horror flick.
Like any good documentary, The Tinder Swindler ends on one hell of a satisfying conclusion.
For starters, despite the ease with which we can blame the victims in these cases, the makers portrayed their stories with a certain sense of nuance, telling us as much about Leviev’s dirty schemes as it did about the very human tragedy of being betrayed in love.
Like Don’t F**k With Cats, it also shies away from the police-laden narratives of most crime documentaries. Instead, we get to see brilliant investigative journalists practice their craft—ending in a brilliant crescendo where a team of reporters confront Leviev’s family with his scandalous crimes.
The Tinder Swindler is currently streaming on Netflix.
(Featured Image Credits: Netflix)