NEW YORK (CNS) — On the surface, the true-crime documentary "The Suspect" possesses the elements of a compelling television series. A prominent, wealthy man is gruesomely murdered, and, in a pair of sensational trials, his son stands accused of the killing.

Despite this intriguing premise and the fact that it was this year's top-rated documentary on Canada's CBC — where it first aired in March as "The Oland Murder" — the unconvincing and unsatisfying program will have limited appeal to U.S. audiences.

The first of four 45-minute episodes is currently streaming on Sundance Now. An additional episode will be released each Tuesday through Sept. 8.

Director Deborah Wainwright's ability to gain access to the Olands, the media-wary millionaires at the center of the real-life drama, distinguishes "The Suspect." Interviews recorded after his February 2016 life sentence for the slaying of his dad, Richard, introduce viewers to the figure of the title, Dennis Oland.

On the evening of July 6, 2011, in the port city of St. John, New Brunswick, Richard, the 69-year-old heir to the fortune derived from his family's private ownership of Moosehead Breweries, Canada's oldest independent beer maker, suffered 45 blows to his head, neck and hands. According to Dennis' attorney, Alan Gold, it was the "bloodiest crime scene I've ever seen."

For a police force charged with safeguarding fewer than 70,000 souls in a town with an annual murder rate that local chief Bill Reid estimates at "one or two," this was an unusual case in just about every respect. The officers involved soon concluded that Dennis was the only person who could have committed this heinously impassioned crime.

Then in his 40s, Dennis was a financially strapped broker who resented his abrasive father and was the last person known to have seen Richard alive. Some blood DNA evidence, moreover, appeared to link him to the crime.

The docuseries focuses much of its energy on Dennis' retrial. This was granted in October 2016 after it was held that Justice John Walsh's instructions to the original jury had been misleading. Given the attendant publicity, the new jury was selected from a pool of 5,000.

The second proceeding ended with Justice Terrence Morrison declaring a mistrial after it was discovered that St. John's police had improperly investigated prospective jurors. Thus, eight years after his father's death, Dennis was, in a sense, vindicated. Yet, understandably, he remains sad, angry and anxious.

The murder details by themselves are enough to preclude a youthful audience. Though Wainwright generally handles her potentially lurid material with restraint and discretion, the repetitive imagery of splattering blood still becomes tiresome.

Given the filmmakers' non-sensational approach, some parents may deem the show acceptable for mature teenagers. They should be aware, however, that — in addition to the violence — adultery figures in the tragedy and interview subjects occasionally employ vulgar language.

From an artistic point of view, as a whodunit, "The Suspect" falls short. It fails to persuade viewers one way or the other about Dennis' guilt. Nor does it offer any convincing alternative theories of the slaying.

The documentarians do succeed in highlighting how the failure of the inexperienced investigators to secure the crime scene significantly compromised their case. They also point out how improper interviewing techniques contributed to making Dennis appear guilty.

Dennis' defense team, however, won't necessarily impress viewers. They seem to have waited until the retrial to defend their client vigorously. And Gold's assertion that the case against Dennis is "the weakest I've ever been involved in" rings hollow.

Neither sympathetic nor unsympathetic, Dennis appears too mild-mannered to have done the vicious act of which he stood accused. Yet doubts will linger among the audience.

American viewers, as opposed to those north of the border, will also likely be left feeling somewhat underinformed about the Olands.

A fuller exposition of their brewing company's history as well as an exploration of their reputation in the local community and across their home country would have been helpful. So, too, would a deeper examination of Richard and Dennis' relationship.

On a more abstract level, "The Suspect" also is deficient in analyzing the difference wealth and fame make when rich celebrities are made subject to the criminal justice system. Would a less affluent and headline-grabbing defendant have obtained the same outcome in similar circumstances?

U.S. viewers are unlikely to embrace "The Suspect" with the same enthusiasm shown by their Canadian counterparts. Instead, they will probably be left largely unmoved, feeling like outsiders where the story of the Olands is concerned.