REVIEW – MAKING A MURDERER 2 – What is going on with the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer?

Making a Murderer was a sensation. Original content from Netflix for the first time gained the status of a national/international television phenomenon. It dominated water cooler conversation, launched numerous arguments and helped educate a public into the intricacies of the legal system.

A real life courtroom drama, lawyers and prosecutors became heroes and villains in a way unseen since the OJ Simpson trial. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos’ show told the story of Steven Avery. From Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, he served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder. He was again convicted in 2007 for the murder of Teresa Halbach. His 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey also stood trial as an accessory in the murder on the basis of a confession many saw as coerced.

Season 2 has some very obvious problems. First of all – and here is why I won’t be marking anything SPOILER – the case is now so famous that we know if anything ground-shaking had happened to Avery or Dassey we would have seen it on the news. So we know from the get go that they’ve not been freed. We follow their lawyers down corridors, up courtroom steps, back to the murder scene and environs, but we know ultimately no one is going anywhere.

Other Problem

And that’s the other problem. This is a five episode season padded out to ten episodes. If you love seeing people carrying boxes around and photographing doorjambs, you’re in for a treat. Otherwise you might find some of this tedious. The interviews with the family are fittingly depressing as their lives are wasting away in front of us as they await something like justice. In comparison with this, it seems churlish to complain of boredom, but there we have it. Also Making a Murderer suffers from its success in that other documentaries – The Staircase, Evil Genius – have nabbed its template and perhaps most effectively American Vandal. Rustic poverty porn mixes with endless drone shots. At one point, I thought I saw another drone passing through the drone shot, probably of a rival documentary. Or an Amazon delivery.

Now there are good parts. Kathleen Zellner.

Making a Murderer Season 2 is on Netflix.


HOLLYWOOD – Sean Penn fresh from his scoop in interviewing El Chapo for Rolling Stones, today sat down with Steven Avery, the convict at the center of Netflix’s hit serial Making a Murderer.

Sean Penn here. I know what you’re thinking. When am I gonna make a sequel to Fast Times at Ridgemont High? When are you gonna resurrect Jeff Spicoli? Well, let me just tell you, there isn’t a day that goes by, not one minute that I don’t think about Spicoli and what he might be doing today. But today I’m off to interview another ‘criminal’. Yeah. I did El Chapo in Mexico and that was pretty Rad. I mean it was like Narcos, but you know in a different country. Now I’m after Steven Avery who I first knew about when I binged on Netflix’s Making a Murderer this Christmas. If you’re reading this I’m gonna assume you must have done the same. You must also have read the various controversies about the show, the rebuttals from the prosecutors and all that jazz so I’m not going to repeat all that. And obviously there are gonna be SPOILERS like I give a shit!

Steven Avery comes in and sits down. He looks exactly like he does on TV, well the later episodes, not like when he was a child or anything. He sits opposite me in the regulation prison garb that institutionalizes and dehumanizes too many Americans in our country and he smiles broadly.

‘So when are we gonna get a sequel to Fast Times at Ridgemont High?’ he says.

‘Ha!’ I say, relaxing visibly (I imagine). He’s put me at my ease but at the same time I have a lot of questions for Steven Avery. ‘So do you really believe the cops framed you?’

‘Aloha Mr Hand!’

‘Yeah right. That’s a good line.’

‘Jeff Spicoli, man! I can’t believe I’m talking to Jeff Spicoli.’

‘That’s just a role in a movie. I’m more than that. I’m a journalist and a social activist. And I’m interested in your case because it seems to me that an injustice has been done and I would like to shed some light on it. So if you don’t mind can we get back to talking about your case and away from talking about Fast Times at Ridgemont High!’

‘Of course, Mr. Penn. I’m sorry. Sure. My case. For me the most important decision was not to allow what’s called third person liability to be used as part of my defense. This meant that…’

‘I mean Fast Times at Ridgemont High was years ago. It was my first film practically. And everyone goes on about it. What about Gangster Squad? What about Milk? What about Dead Man Walking which you should have some sympathy for?’

‘All good films I’m sure, but I’ve been in prison you see and…’

‘Mystic River, I am Sam, We’re No Angels with De Niro! De Niro! The Gunman and I’ve directed movies too.’

‘I’m sure they were…’

‘Into the Wild, for instance. Jeff Spicoli was years ago. And if it isn’t that, it’s you’re the guy who married Madonna! What’s Madonna like?’

‘You were married to Madonna?’

‘Of course I f*cking was! Where the f*ck have you been?’

And just as things got really interesting the guard came and told us our time was up. I’m still not sure whether Steven Avery is truly an innocent man, nor have I understood the complexity of his case in a way that is in any way deeper, but when we parted I could see in his relief that we had both gained something from this meeting. And I drove home feeling vindicated.

Image courtesy of @ThePixelFactor.


HOLLYWOOD – Netflix have confirmed that a film based on their documentary series Making a Murderer is due to roll into production later this year.

“The phone hasn’t stop ringing since we put the show on the service,” said a Netflix spokesman.

Most of the time it’s people crying, or swearing, or crying and swearing. Mel Gibson left us a three hour answering message explaining his theory of who really did it but we assured him that Steven Spielberg has an alibi for the night in question.

Although no director is attached to the project, David Lynch has expressed an interest in taking the helm:

Manitowoc is a weird city full of strange, grotesque characters. Usually it takes me years to come up with that shit but it’s all there. The place is practically a Twin Peaks theme park and I reckon the story would make an interesting movie.

Twitter is already speculating which actors will take on the main roles with Leonardo DiCaprio the current frontrunner to play Steven Avery but it’s the role of former district attorney Ken Kratz that is causing the most interest after Daniel Day-Lewis allegedly attended a Christmas fancy dress party as the man himself.

“We were all waiting for Daniel to arrive when suddenly, Ken Kratz walked in,” said an anonymous party goer:

He was immediately set upon and we’d just fashioned a make-shift scaffold and put a noose around his neck when we realised it was Daniel and everyone fell about laughing.

Kratz was unavailable for comment but he did send us these text messages:

Hey, sexy. I’m kind of a big shot. Maybe you can come over and sit on my face and tell me I’m the King. – K

Er, sorry, that text message was sent by Steven Avery. They just found my phone in his cell. He escaped, stole my phone and then broke back into prison. I’ve got proof! Well, I will have proof. Give me a few days.



2015 was the year of true crime and despite everyone going gaga over the Serial podcast it dipped and dragged and by the time the last episode came around, I was glad it was over all over and done with. HBO’s The Jinx was a different kettle of fish with fewer episodes and gallons of WTF moments and head-spinning absurdity. For those that haven’t managed to catch the story of Machiavellian maniac Robert Durst, The Jinx should be high on your watch list but even that mighty series cannot compete with Netflix’s Making A Murderer.

The prospect of ten solid hours of documentary film might fill you with horror and dread but if it were eligible for an Oscar, it would be the odds on favourite. Essentially Making a Murderer is the tale of Steven Avery, a man sent to prison for eighteen years for a crime he didn’t commit but it’s more than that, it’s a study of how a family and a community is affected by his conviction and how the establishment conspires to crush Avery and deny him his liberty.

There are twists and turns along the way, genuine villains and crusading heroes. It’s difficult to believe the story is true, at one point I’d convinced myself the series was an elaborate hoax but alas, it is terrifyingly real. Those involved in the conspiracy against Steven have accused the filmmakers of bias but the evidence (or lack of evidence) is there for all to see in the interrogation tapes, the police reports and the demeanour of the snake pit of slippery characters. You will get angry, very angry and you will wonder how the corruption was never previously exposed but you will also be inspired by the compassion of those that firmly believe in Avery’s innocence.

Making a Murderer has raised the bar when it comes to the true crime genre and its success will encourage Netflix to pour money into more intelligent, in-depth films. We’ve already seen some crackers over the last decade, but the golden age of documentaries is definitely upon us.

Making a Murderer is available on Netflix.