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.
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.