April 21, 2021

“Making a Murderer” Mania: Popular Netflix Doc

I love watching crime tv drama, but now the true crime bug has bitten me thanks to Making a Murderer, the engrossing ten-part documentary series on Netflix. I know I must not be alone in this avid interest because I keep seeing follow-up articles in magazines and blog posts.

Film-makers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos filmed the plight of Steven Avery over the course of ten years. Avery was incarcerated 18 years for a crime he did not commit, with DNA testing exonerating him and getting him released from prison in 2003. Two years later, he was arrested again for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. By 2007, he was found guilty of murdering her with the help of his nephew, Brendan Dassey who likewise was found guilty.

The TV series provides fascinating footage and recordings of the police investigations, the suspect interrogations, interviews with family members of both the accused and the victim plus video footage of the actual trials. We also see the press dogging everyone for photos and quotes.

These criminal, legal, judicial and police activities are not happening in a big urban area, but in rural Manitowoc County in the state of Wisconsin. Aside from the guilt or innocence of the suspects, the film makes the judges, lawyers and police officers look either like buffoons or patently evil. One could hope that this is an aberrational situation. Or cynically conclude that our criminal and legal system is rigged against the poor, the less educated and the fringe members of society.

If you can stomach real crime, please watch this series and let me know who you think the guilty parties are.  As for me, the jury is still out. Sequel, anyone?

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