DB Cooper D.B. Cooper Netflix Marina Zenovich
Sketches of D.B. Cooper picutred in Netflix's D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! Courtesy of Netflix

“What’s a nice way of saying ‘mindfuck’ without cussing?” laughs Marina Zenovich, director of Netflix’s new docuseries D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!

She’s talking about the D.B. Cooper case — you know, the guy who hijacked a commercial airplane claiming to have a bomb in his briefcase in 1971. The one who parachuted off the plane with $200,000 without harming any of the passengers or crew members in the process. The only thing more bizarre than the details of this case is that 50 years later, it’s still never been solved — and Zenovich doesn’t think it ever will.

The case has left people scratching their heads for decades, and Zenovich (Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, The Way Down) had a blast diving into all of the gritty details.

“I love that whole idea that he just looked like everyone,” Marina Zenovich told MovieMaker. “It just plays with your head.”

At the heart of the Netflix docuseries is investigator and author Tom Colbert’s years-long quest to unmask Cooper once and for all. As D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! discusses, Colbert remains convinced that a military veteran named Robert Rackstraw was really D.B. Cooper all along. But the FBI does not agree — in fact, the bureau closed the famous cold case once and for all in 2016, leaving it unsolved in order to allocate resources to more pressing cases.

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Rackstraw died in 2019, never having admitted to being Cooper. But he also didn’t deny it.

“That’s really fascinating. I mean, even, he was doing that in the ’70s. He was quite mischievous and playful himself,” Zenovich said of Rackstraw. “Is he just kind of playing along or was he really D.B. Cooper — who knows? I don’t think we’ll ever know.”

Whether Rackstraw was Cooper or not, the unsolved case has inspired many a fan in the last 50 years, from D.B. Cooper-themed bars to D.B. Cooper Halloween costumes. All it takes to dress up like the man himself is a black tie, a basic suit, some sunglasses, slicked-back hair, and a briefcase with a bunch of red sticks and wires that look enough like a bomb to fool someone who takes a quick peek inside.

“It’s such a good story. I mean, it’s just crazy. No one was killed. He really knew what he was doing,” Marina Zenovich said. “He was kind of giving his finger to the man by doing something like this, and I think it spoke to a lot of people and he’s some sort of folk hero. I think people relate to him and what he did.”

D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! is now streaming on Netflix.

Main Image: Sketches of D.B. Cooper pictured in Netflix’s D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! Courtesy of Netflix.