Please note: I’m going to try and divulge as few spoilers as I possibly can. The facts can easily be found on the worldwide “interwebs”, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. Part 1 has minimum spoilers, so read this if you are thinking of checking out the series. If you’ve seen it, follow up with part 2 for my thoughts and opinion.
You almost have to count on the provider to let you know what’s newly available. There are so many “original / originally distributed” films, series and television “events” these days, yet there is only so much time to get to it all. For this, I am grateful as it actually validates the need for this, and similar, posts.
Honestly, I get wind of new shows, and sometimes, I catch them on debut and somehow I’m responsible for telling everyone. Sometimes, I’m a little late to the party. And sometimes, I save these shows and unwrap them when I can devote the time.
I saw this series, Making a Murderer, when it dropped on Netflix, but wasn’t exactly certain what it was about. Non-fiction and documentaries have not really been a go-to genre for me. However, between then and now, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with Dateline mysteries. As I’m all caught up with what I can find to stream, I’ve been looking for a similar type series to fill the gap. With piles of laundry to fold and dishes to do on a Sunday afternoon, it seemed like a good time to pull this one out of my queue and give it a look. In this case, I’m grateful for not hearing any spoilers so that I could come to it with a fresh eye. I’m really trying to return the favor.
I have to admit I was initially sympathetic to the main subject of the piece, Steven Avery. From the now and forever notorious, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Avery served a prison sentence for a sexual assault conviction. All along, Steven adamantly attests to his innocence. After 18 years, DNA evidence came to light revealing that he is not guilty after all, and Avery is finally released to resume his life.
The Averys live and work together on a type of family compound that borders their family business, an auto scrapyard. This is not Hyannis Port. These are not worldly, educated people, nor are they proper, or fancy. They are simply making a living and taking care of each other, as they do. More than anything, everyone is pleased to have Steven home.
Assisted by an attorney, Avery files a lawsuit to seek millions in restitution for wrongful incarceration and finally wins an award of $400,000. Finally, something is going right. They even named a bill after him, the Avery bill, to promote justice reform and prevent this from happening again in the future.
After stopping by Avery’s Auto Salvage to photograph a vehicle Steven was selling, Auto Trader photographer Teresa Halbach goes missing. After an extensive search, Halbach’s vehicle is found on the Avery property as is additional evidence. Avery is subsequently arrested and charged with her murder. The balance of the series is the trial. The story unfolds through interviews, photographs, news and trial footage, police interrogations, and phone interviews. And. It. Is. Riveting.
Once begun, I binged over half of the 10 episode season in one day and blew through the remaining episodes the next. After getting through two episodes I was really, really tempted to go to straight to the end. Really. But, as I tell my son, it’s no good knowing what your present is before you unwrap it. So, I hung in there, even putting off Game of Thrones until the morning. I know! Gasp.
It is presented very similarly to Dateline, but in much greater detail and without advantage of an on-camera interviewer. If you like that type of show, Criminal Minds, or other procedurals, you will like this. This series will not only reel you in, but it will also get you thinking about a lot of things. You may even be disturbed by it, or even incensed – but not for the reasons that you would automatically assume. I’ve heard that the filmmakers are interested in a second season that could further document the case , but there’s nothing concrete.
Cindy Says: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟, yes, that’s five stars. Watch, and then come back for part 2 (coming soon) so we can talk!!
For a scripted show with an extremely similar storyline, look for Rectify on the Sundance Channel. It is also outstanding.