Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

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Tiger King
Tiger King, Murder, Mayhem and Madness publicity image.jpg
GenreTrue crime
Directed by
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes7
Executive producer(s)
CinematographyDamien Drake
Running time41–48 minutes
Picture format1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseMarch 20, 2020
External links

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, titled onscreen as simply Tiger King, is a 2020 true crime documentary miniseries about the life of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, popularly known as Joe Exotic.[1] It was released on Netflix on March 20, 2020.[2] The series focuses on the small but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists like Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, and collectors such as Exotic, who Baskin accuses of abusing and exploiting wild animals.


The series focuses on the little-known but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists and collectors in America, exploring the private zoos and sanctuaries they've set up for these unusual and deadly pets. Some eccentric characters include a former cocaine drug lord running a secret conservation facility, Jeff Lowe, a swinger who sneaks cubs into high-end hotels for parties and to attract women, Tim Stark, owner of the roadside zoo Wildlife in Need, and Bhagavan "Doc" Antle, an animal trainer who founded a 50-acre animal preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and trains animals for Hollywood films.

The major conflict and emphasis of the series revolves around the contentious, years-long hatred between the flamboyant owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue. Carole Baskin alleges that Joe Exotic's breeding programs, zoo and animal conditions, and practice of charging visitors to pet lion or tiger cubs are abusive to the big cats. She makes it her personal mission to end private big-cat ownership in general and Joe Exotic's cobbled-together, private Oklahoma zoo in particular. In turn, Joe Exotic alleges conditions at Carole Baskin's Florida rescue are sub-par, and that Carole Baskin is waging a hypocritical campaign of focused harassment against him, by creating websites naming him an animal abuser, hiring people or encouraging PETA to track his movements, and damaging his sources of income by likewise badgering potential clients. Exotic also promotes theories that Baskin was involved in the disappearance of Don Lewis, her second husband, and makes frequent death threats towards her on his internet show in anger against her sanctions.

The feud escalates as Carole Baskin organizes protests against Joe Exotic, who retaliates by holding big cat shows with cub petting under trademark knock offs of Big Cat Rescue's logos. Big Cat Rescue sues over these trademark infringements, winning a million dollar settlement against Joe Exotic.

After the lawsuit, Joe Exotic and his zoo spiral out of control, suffering many personal, financial, and business losses. Eventually, Joe Exotic attempts to hire someone to murder Carole Baskin, resulting in his arrest and later conviction.[3]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 94% based on reviews from 48 critics, with an average rating of 8.29 out of 10.[4] The critics consensus says, "a bizarre true crime story you have to see to believe, Tiger King is a messy and captivating portrait of obsession gone terribly wrong."

Variety magazine's Caroline Framke called the series "messy yet compelling" and that "those who love Netflix's particular flavor of true crime and docuseries, [...] Tiger King will undoubtedly scratch a particular itch.[5]

Joshua Rivera at The Verge said, "Every minute of Tiger King yields some new surprise, an unbelievable turn or charismatic stranger with incredible stories to tell."[6]


The show quickly became one of the most watched shows on the Netflix platform, and reached No. 1 on March 29, 2020, according to daily rankings published by Netflix. The show's popularity may have been significantly aided by the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, which caused millions of global viewers to be quarantined at home as the show was released, thereby spiking viewership and aiding in creating its zeitgeist during this period.[7][8]


A limited series adaptation is in development, headed by Universal Content Productions. It will be based on the second season of Wondery's Over My Dead Body podcast, with Kate McKinnon set to executive-produce and portray Carole Baskin. No other castings, network or streaming platform attached have been announced yet. [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Miller, Julie (March 19, 2020). "Netflix's Wild Tiger King Is Your Next True Crime TV Obsession". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "Tiger King". Netflix. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  3. ^ Kaplan, Michael. "Everything you need to know about Netflix's new Joe Exotic doc, 'Tiger King'". New York Post (March 19, 2020). NYP Holdings, Inc. Archived from the original on March 20, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  4. ^ "Tiger King: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  5. ^ Framke, Caroline (March 20, 2020). "Netflix's 'Tiger King': TV Review". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  6. ^ Rivera, Joshua (April 1, 2020). "Tiger King is a show about how the internet eats us all". The Verge. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  7. ^ Spangler, Todd (March 29, 2020). "'Tiger King' Ranks as TV's Most Popular Show Right Now, According to Rotten Tomatoes". Variety. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  8. ^ Syme, Rachel (March 26, 2020). "I Clicked and Seven Hours Passed: Netflix's "Tiger King"". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 27, 2020). "'Joe Exotic' UCP Limited Series Starring Kate McKinnon As Carole Baskin Becomes Hot Commodity With Success Of Netflix's 'Tiger King'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 2, 2020.

External links[edit]