Who doesn’t love a good mystery? From the back story to a sequential narration of the event to a final reveal, unraveling a good mystery tale can be extremely cathartic. But what happens when it remains unsolved? Or when it turns into a cold case? And worse, when it’s not fictional and remains unexplained? It’s like an itch in the brain that you can’t scratch. One can say the same about the DB Cooper Netflix docuseries, “D.B. Cooper: Where are you?”
What is the Netflix DB Cooper show about?
Nothing builds intrigue like a true crime story. It’s probably why shows like The Ted Bundy Tapes and People v. O. J. Simpson did so well. The interest increases multifold when you don’t get closure. Whether it’s the Zodiac Killer or Amelia Airheart’s plane, their tales either become conspiracies or folklore. The DB Cooper Netflix show attempts to unravel the mystery behind his 1971 escape with $200,000 in unmarked bills.
Who was DB Cooper? Why did he do it? Did he survive? Cooper’s legendary status was only enhanced by the unanswered questions surrounding him. Hence, while the Netflix documentary series is fairly new, there is no shortage of DB Cooper within pop culture.
DB Cooper was within pop culture before Netflix
From comic books, novels, and several mentions in various films and TV shows, the legend of DB Cooper still lives on. Here are some of the most popular on-screen ‘appearances’ of DB Cooper over the years.
DB Cooper as our very own God of Mischief? It’s hilariously unbelievable how fitting this theory is. It would explain so much as to why no one has found him yet. In the first episode of Loki, the series by Marvel Cinematic Universe, the story reveals Loki as the infamous Skyjacker.
During Loki’s questioning, a clip of him on a flight appears on TVA’s projector scene. Wearing a dapper suit and stylish glasses, we even see Loki handing the flight attendant a ransom note before he jumps out of the plane. Funnily enough, he gets sucked in back to Asgard by Heimdall’s Bifrost. TVA agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) even exclaims, “You were DB Cooper!” to which Loki (Tom Hiddleston) responds with cynical laughter. “I was young, and I lost a bet to Thor.” This has to be one of the most wonderfully weird DB Cooper theories. But it also makes so much sense.
Before the decline in the show’s storytelling, Prison Break had one of the best first seasons. It was dark, gritty, and had some fascinating lead and supporting characters. One of them, obviously, was the longest-serving inmate of the penitentiary named Charles Westmoreland Jr., played by Muse Watson. Even though he denies it, there are several rumors around the prison that the old, soft-spoken cat owner is, in fact, DB Cooper.
Toward the end of the season, though, he shows Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) a hundred-dollar bill. This was actually a confession of him being the evasive Cooper, and he had saved the bill from the infamous skyjacking. Why would a master escapee be in prison and waste his talents just to find loopholes to keep his cat? If only we knew what goes on in the head of a criminal mastermind!
The 1990 American Mystery drama Twin Peaks was a pop culture phenomenon of the 90s. Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, it’s labeled as one of the best TV shows of all time. The show’s protagonist is FBI Agent Dale Bartholomew Cooper or D. B. Cooper. Funnily enough, the show has absolutely nothing to do with the skyjacker at all.
The show’s character, though, looks very similar to the composite FBI composite sketches of D. B. Cooper, complete with crisp suits and black tie to the slicked-back hair. The juxtaposition of one of the most sought-after criminals being the namesake of an FBI agent is both ironic and hysterical. It is still one of the most popular nods to DB Cooper in pop culture.
Bigfoot vs DB Cooper
From strange yet cult classics like Nightmare Sisters, The Brotherhood, or Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, you either unconditionally love or absolutely hate a David DeCoteau film. One of his weirder flicks is the 2014 Bigfoot vs D.B. Cooper.
The movie has an all-time low IMDb rating of 1.3, yet isn’t the premise absolutely intriguing. A showdown between America’s most enigmatic monster and America’s most enigmatic criminal. Perhaps it can be one of those ironic “it’s so bad that it’s good” watches!
In Search of…
Real-life mystery shows like Unsolved Mysteries and The UnXplained do very well. This genre has been popular long before the advent of Netflix and other OTT platforms. The 1979 investigational series In Search of… covered everything from UFO, The loch ness monster to Amelia Airheart and, of course, D. B. Cooper.
The cheesy show hosted by Leonard Nimoy did a 22-minute feature episode on DB Cooper and is a great starting point for people unfamiliar with the case. Nimoy takes the audience through the details of the case, enhanced by reenactments and comments and insights from FBI Agent Ralph Himmelsbach. The agent was apparently consumed by his obsession with the DB Cooper case.
Without a Paddle
Directed by Steven Brill, Without a Paddle is a 2004 mindless comedy starring Dax Shepard, Matthew Lillard and Seth Green. The film is mostly just known for its slapstick comedy, goofy lines and over-the-top performances by the lead comedy stars. But the premise is around the loot of DB Cooper.
After their friend passes away, three friends go on an expedition to find the lost treasure of DB Cooper. Obviously, their search goes off-track, leading only to a world of chaos, resulting in a lot of physical comedy. After uncovering Cooper’s ransom haul, the three make every effort to give the remains of the skyjacker a proper sendoff.
Before shows like The Office, Arrested Development, and Parks and Recreation popularised the genre of workplace comedy; there was NewsRadio in the 90s. Centered around WNYX, a fictional news radio station in New York, the show had an ensemble cast with some big names like Dave Foley, Jon Lovitz, Stephen Root, Andy Dick, and even the controversial podcaster Joe Rogan.
In one of the storylines, Jimmy James, played by Stephen Root, is actually accused of being DB Cooper. The elaborate 3-arc-story finally uncovers that Jimmy James is innocent. The final reveal is even more shocking and hilarious as Adam West, TV’s Batman is the notorious DB Cooper. To be honest, Batman would make an amazing criminal.
Despite several homages and shows centered on him, DB Cooper remains as mystical as ever. All one can do is let these numerous shows entertain us, with the latest being on Netflix. Tell us your favorite DB Cooper reference and your most loved controversy around the case.