Available now on Netflix
The Netflix original series, Making a Murderer, is making quite a splash across the globe. Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi’s documentary, that took ten years and complete immersion into the community to film is currently one of the most controversial documentaries. From Reddit to News reports to the Anonymous hacktivist group it’s hard to shy away from the blaring show of support and anger this documentary has stirred up.
With that being said, I think we should start with the obvious question; What IS Making a Murderer?
The documentary follows Steven Avery, a man who before Demos and Ricciardi had even heard of him had spent 18 years in jail for rape- only to be released when DNA evidence proved Avery could not have committed the crime. Although the documentary suggests a confession could have released Avery sooner, and that this information is ignored until Avery’s release. The Manitowoc County Sheriffs Department, it is suggested, put Avery away simply for disliking him (Avery being involved in an argument with the sheriffs wife at the time, and having a small but some would argue significant criminal record). Avery went on to sue the police department who through what seems to be a gross miscarriage of justice sent him away. The documentary explains that the police department are ordered to pay the money themselves if Avery is successful in his law suit. When I say sue I mean attempted to sue, for millions of dollars, but when a brutal and tragic murder happens the police are after Avery before they even have a body.
Despite Manitowoc County Sheriffs Department being informed they could not work on the case unobserved (as Avery is suing them at the time) they make their way to Averys house and find a whole load of incriminating evidence- or as the documentary explores; placed evidence there? The whole things gets more murky when you hear Brendan Dassey’s confession, stating he was at the crime- a witness and participant- with his uncle, Steven Avery. However the documentary and defense team suggest this confession is coerced, and considering Dassey is intellectually handicapped (some reports suggesting with an IQ below 70) it has been hard for the truth to be revealed.
To me Making a Murderer was one of the most compelling documentaries I’ve seen in a very long time. Ten hours melted away as I was, like many others, glued to the screen. I’m not sure how I felt about the actual documentary as a piece of film, the subject matter was perfectly chosen, so I stopped paying attention to the actual making of it and fell into the theories and crimes presented in this series.
Both Demos and Ricciardi completely immersed themselves into the subject matter, even moving to the town and spending TEN YEARS to create this series. This by itself is amazing to me. They became complete flys- on- the- wall, observing and telling this story with the utmost professionalism. This kind of dedication to the subject matter is to be applauded. To go even deeper though, to sniff out a story like this in the first place shows these women’s skill in the art of story telling.
I would have to re-watch this to know of an exact star rating to give it, and that is at least another ten hours away. So instead I’ll end this review by suggesting you go and watch it, ten hours is a commitment but the story told in Making a Murderer is one that deserves to be heard- innocence or guilt.
If you’re interested in some of the key events that have happened since Avery’s and Dassey’s sentencing, keep scrolling!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD.
Here’s a brief look at some of the key events that happen in the aftermath of the sentencing.
- Both Avery and Dassey get life sentences.
- After many appeals neither Dassey or Avery are granted a new trial. This is particularly interesting as it seems Dassey’s state appointed lawyer was working for the prosecution against Avery and was even dismissed mid trail for allowing Dassey to be interviewed without him present. The lawyer is dismissed but the interview evidence is still submitted to court.
- The prosecution (Ken Kratz), who has since been dismissed, states the documentary had left out lots of information that would suggest Avery’s guilt. The defense state the documentary is a fair representation of events.
- Steven Avery is currently working on his own case, still asserting his innocence along side Dassey. He has been granted all of the case files to help him with his own defense. Both have been in prison for murder for eight years.
- As of writing this a petition asking Obama to pardon the two has reached 150, 000 signatures. Others calling for a new trial.
- The Innocence Project, who helped release Avery from his first incarceration is currently working on Averys case.
- Some reports claim that The hacktivist group Anonymous claims to have information pertaining to Avery’s innocence.
- Avery’s and Dasseys family both continue to support them.
Feel Free to comment and let me know what you thought of the series!