Episode eight – the latter half of it at least – saves the best of the McCann twelve-year investigation for last. In the final episode we’re appraised of a giant leap forward in the lengthy and expensive search for Madeleine McCann. The Tannerman sighting was a mistake. Oh dear. But hold on. Making the mistake in the first place made complete sense!
Yes it was a case of mistaken identity. Dr. Julian Totman closely resembled Gerry McCann and in fact played tennis with him on the day Madeleine disappeared. His daughter went to the same creche as Madeleine as well.
Despite this enormous epiphany, another rather glaring aspect was that Dr. Totman couldn’t have been walking away from the McCanns’ apartment after 21:00 while carrying his sleeping daughter [as Jane Tanner claimed], because he had to walk across the road – east – to the creche to collect her, and his own apartment was in the other direction, to the left or to the west of the McCann apartment [which is on the eaternmost side of the Ocean Club]. He had to have been walking the other way.
So why is he sketched walking across the street while carrying his daughter to the right?
Curiously in a follow-up sketch, another Tannermannish character is brought into being and this one is walking the other way [in one’s imagination, not witnessed anywhere in particular], but alas he’s not carrying anyone. Shucks, I guess one can’t get everything right in these investigations, but one can sort of waggle it at the media anyway, right?
Is it mentioned anywhere in the documentary where Dr. Totman was staying in the hotel, and what his room number was relative to the McCanns. Nah. Pfft. Why would anyone want to start contextualising the crime scene, and re-enact where people were hypothetically? Why…well, it may have solved the Dr. Totman debacle in the first hours of the investigation, rather than after several years, that’s why.
Instead of heading into this area however, the docuseries dwells for a moment on the news that the artist’s sketch was actually accurate [just irrelevant] . This irrelevant accuracy is is oohed and aahed over, in effect justifying the cops and media and everyone else for wasting a fuckload of money and shitloads of time.
And because it was a British father carrying a British child whose clothing came from Marks & Sparks, no wonder the cops on both sides of the channel concentrated on him for years, until the cows came home.
This puts into perspective the whinge that the cops arrived an hour or more late to the scene of the crime. Maybe the original investigative team wasted time. The follow-up investigation that was supposedly on the right track [not investigating the McCanns] wasted years on a bogus lead. But that’s not a big deal, the sketch at least was accurate.
We should also compare apples with apples. The man who the cops were looking for [the imputed abductor] turned out to be a father “abducting” his own child, and for years no one saw that. So why would it be so egregious to merely suppose one of the McCanns may have done the same thing?
Another aspect – which we’ll deal with in more detail in a moment – is why would you use an expert artist for the Tannerman and subsequent sketches, and then when you progressed to another suspect, supposedly the key sighting, why wouldn’t you use the same artist? Melissa Little, an FBI-accredited police artist specially hired by the McCanns had proved her worth in the past. Her first sketch had been accurate, so why choose another way of rendering your second, more crucial sighting? Worse still, why would you provide two different sketches of the same face?
But it gets even shakier.
Even after Dr. Totman himself came forward and said HEY IT WAS ME, the cops dutifully continued to investigate him [the Tanner Sighting] regardless. When the Metropolitan police took over though, they immediately made great strides. Their great stride [and arguably only stride] was to conclude that Tannerman wasn’t credible. Instead of being a lead is was a MISLEAD, and the investigation had been misled.
By mistake of course, right? The enormous search, largest missing persons search hin history had been misled accidentally, not on purpose, right?
The Met cop said, you know this guy who said he was Tannerman was Tannerman. Maybe we need to exclude this sighting. And so they did. Incredible police work!
In episode eight we see that by excluding Tannerman, everything changes. Now the timeline shifts forward and we’re faced with a different and rather Irish kettle of fish.
I mentioned in the review of episode one that the timeline is covered in the docuseries in a voiceover that lasts about as long as it would take to read this paragraph. Now, with a few minutes remaining in the final episode, it’s time to “examine” the timeline again. In detail you understand.
When one looks at Operation Grange, or indeed the entire investigation into Madeleine’s abduction/disappearance, it’s difficult not to see the whole sad spiel as something other than a tragic comedy starring the Pink Panther as the recast Portuguese police [minus senhor Amaral] and Johnny English confidently leading operation
Grange Bungle. As millions upon millions are spent in the fruitless search for Madeleine [using public money], an incredible amount of nothing happens. Could it be this suspect? How about that one? Oh wait, maybe it’s the Podesta brothers?
And the soundtrack to this shitshow? There is always hope.