“The Seven Five” Is An In-Depth Look At the Most Dangerous Cop In NY History
I love when Netflix adds a lot of movies to its catalogue as I’m constantly looking for something I haven’t seen before. In recent years I’ve really gotten into the documentary scene: some of the stories you will learn about are almost too good to be true. One of those stories is that of Officer Michael Dowd. Patrolling the streets of Brooklyn in the 80’s, Dowd was in one of the most dangerous precincts North America had to offer at the time. Drugs were all over the place, anyone and everyone had a gun on them, and murder was on the rise. In order to survive these dangerous streets, Dowd turned to crime himself; using his badge to get him in good standings with the most dangerous drug dealers in the area and ultimately becoming an amateur dealer years into his corruption. Tiller Russell’s “The Seven Five” is the story of Dowd and the officers who worked alongside him. We hear from the men involved, the drug dealers they dealt with, and the officers that ultimately brought down this group of cops that felt they were above the law.
Michael Dowd is in a suit, sitting next to his lawer in front of The Mollen Commission, and is about to air out all of his dirty laundry. This is how “The Seven Five” begins. As the members of the Commission begin asking their questions, I figured Dowd was going to deny it all. Make up something for why he couldn’t be guilty of all of the crimes they bring up to him. Instead, Dowd meekly answers, “Yes,” to all of their questions. Much like that day, Dowd is just as forthcoming, if not more, with director Tiller Russell as he runs us through the beginning of his time as a police officer until the day he was finally arrested. It’s a story you wouldn’t believe if someone that wasn’t there told you, but we get first-hand admissions from people like Adam Diaz – the drug dealer who paid Dowd and his partner Ken Eurell – Ken Eurell himself, and their fellow police officers Henry “Chicky” Guevara and Walter Yurkiw. All of these men talk candidly about the crimes they committed and only Ken seems to be the least bit remorseful. The way they flippantly describe robbing and beating people reminded me of the way my friends might describe a night of drinking. There’s this look and attitude like, “Yeah. I did these horrible things. Yeah. It was awesome.” Yet, while watching this captivating documentary, I couldn’t help but to like these guys. Definitely not for their actions but just how personable they come across. Even Diaz, who may be one of the most dangerous people to walk the streets of New York, garnered respect from me just by the way he carried himself. After years of being conditioned by watching movies and always liking the bad guys better, this was no different; other than the fact that what they were saying really happened.
For the hour and forty-four minutes this documentary lasts, I just kept finding myself in complete disbelief that these cops got away with the things they were doing for this long. They made enough money from burglaries and protecting Diaz that they all could have retired and lived comfortably long before they were caught. With wives and children to take care of, Eurell and Dowd often cite their low yearly incomes for the reason they turned to crime. Where they were getting just over $600 dollar paychecks, one night of catching the right person could give them their yearly salaries after only thirty minutes of work. It was a no-brainer to them to use their badge as a way to make a better life for themselves; and not in the way they were supposed to.
“The Seven Five” will grab your attention immediately and will keep you glued to the screen until Dowd’s final, and most insane, attempt at being a criminal. From confessions, to secretly recorded conversations, photos from the time, and stock footage, “The Seven Five” is a must-watch documentary. It is currently streaming on Netflix.