Netflix has released the first official trailer for “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal,” a deep dive into the 2019 bribery scandal that led to over 50 high-profile arrests, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. The criminal conspiracy to guarantee admission to elite institutions was arranged and designed by a man named Rick Singer, who will be dramatized by Matthew Modine in the film. The documentary was directed by Chris Smith and written by Jon Karmen, who had a hand in Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary “Fyre” as well as the smash hit docuseries “Tiger King.”
That should offer some idea of the tone of “Operation Varsity Blues,” which is sure to deliver the vicarious thrill of watching the demise of entitled people who think money and privilege will inure them from consequences. While the film does not claim to be a hybrid documentary, the recreations with Modine appear so realistic as to make it seem like a narrative feature at times, at least in this first trailer.
Here’s the official synopsis, provided by Netflix:
“An examination that goes beyond the celebrity-driven headlines and dives into the methods used by Rick Singer, the man at the center of the shocking 2019 college admissions scandal, to persuade his wealthy clients to cheat an educational system already designed to benefit the privileged. Using an innovative combination of interviews and narrative recreations of the FBI’s wiretapped conversations between Singer and his clients, ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ offers a rare glimpse into the enigmatic figure behind a 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.”
Other actors who appear in the recreations include Josh Stamberg as Bill McGlashan, Wallace Langham as Gordon Caplan, and David Starzyk as Bruce Isackson. The trailer shows some brief news footage of Loughlin and Huffman, but does not appear to use any recorded calls involving either of the actresses.
The 2019 college admissions bribery scandal is the largest case of its kind to be prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department.
“Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” premieres Wednesday, March 17 on Netflix. Check out the first trailer below.