In 2019, the world was shocked by the news that nearly 50 people—including Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman—were indicted in relation to a scheme to spend millions of dollars on bribes to get their children into elite colleges across the U.S. It was, and remains, an incredibly shocking example of how far parents will go for the prestige of certain educations, and brings up important questions surrounding how colleges select students.
Now, Netflix is planning a deep dive into the notorious college admissions scandal, titled Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal. Directed by Fyre’s Chris Smith, the documentary promises to go beyond the celebrity-driven headlines and “dives into the methods used by Rick Singer (portrayed by Matthew Modine), the man at the centre” of the scandal.
According to its official description, Operation Varsity Blues will offer up an innovative combination of interviews and narrative recreations of the FBI’s wiretapped conversations between Singer and his clients, giving a rare glimpse into the enigmatic figure behind the scheme that exposed the lengths wealthy families would go to for admission into elite colleges and angered a nation already grappling with the effects of widespread inequality.
As the documentary highlights, Singer’s schemes included everything from enabling students to cheat on their college admissions tests to building fake athletic profiles (complete with finely photoshopped images) or bribing school officials. In the trailer, Single aptly sums up his scheme: “We help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school.” Another interviewee adds, “They had every advantage, and yet they still cheated.”
Operation Varsity Blues premieres on Netflix on March 17.