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king of the con

Television

‘King of the Con’ review: Wild tale of fraud that spans California

A wild tale of fraud, carpets, and Hollywood.

King of the Con is a true crime docu-series about one of the youngest self-made millionaires in the 1980s. In less than ten years, Barry Minkow had made enough money to where he was considering buying the Seattle Mariners. By the time he was 21, Minkow was revealed to be a con artist. At 22, he was put in federal jail. It seemed like Minkow’s life of crime was over; it was only just the beginning.

The documentary starts in the loud and obnoxious 80s. This is seen in the archival footage and bold fonts. This places the audience in the mindset of the time. It also gives an idea of how the scam was able to work. Minkow is a charismatic storyteller making his modern interviews a strong foundation for King of the Con. Not only does he draw viewers in, there is a quality of salesmanship that further shows why he was a successful con artist. It is hard not to believe the documentary is just another means of advertisement for the always PR savvy Minkow.

King of the Con is filled with the expected talking head interviews. All of the interviewees add to the show. This keeps things from getting too stale. Minkow’s story is outrageous, but it is nothing new to true crime. When the first part of the three part series ends with Minkow in jail, it appears the whole story has been told. After spending less than ten years in prison, Minkow would become a pastor.

This was the start of the next phase of his life that includes religion, fraud busting, and Tom Hanks. Unfortunately, it was much like the previous one. True crime fans will enjoy King of the Con. Barry Minkow’s tale is a familiar one and it is interesting to hear all the wild details. There are some re-enactments that do not work, but nothing that will turn audiences away.

King of the Con is streaming on Discovery+

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