The Fake Sheikh 2023 / Absorbing interviewees, enthralling visuals, and an unbelievably true story make this docuseries just as gripping as any thriller out there


Mazher Mahmood’s true story is so rich, improbable, and dramatic, that it almost seems like a movie. It’s certainly edited like one. The Fake Sheikh is filled with quotable one-liners and thrilling reenactments, and at the center of it all is the compelling anti-hero, Mahmood. Director Ceri Isfryn does a commendable job of balancing the facts about her controversial subject, interviewing both Mahmood’s champions and critics, colleagues and victims, while also interweaving narratives of race and class into his story. After all, this is a man who was initially denied the chance to cover anything other than race and immigration, and so he carved his own (warped) path as a celebrity journalist. There are times when it seems like Isfryn tips the scales a bit to favor Mahmood, but it all falls in line with her movie narrative. The Fake Sheikh is just as enthralling as any good fictional thriller out there.

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