The Netflix exclusive ‘Making A Murderer’ ten-part series, written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos has consumed the digital world. Since popping up on Facebook newsfeeds a week prior to Christmas, this dark, utterly bleak and compelling documentary has kept Netflix fans on the edge of their seats. Did they? Or didn’t they? Anger. Despair. Lament. Sob. Bitterness. These are all the emotions – and then some – complete with swear words thrown at everyone and anyone wearing anything other than overalls.
Without being a great big mean spoiler, ‘Making a Murderer’ explores the unexplained legal issues surrounding the Manitowoc County, Wisconsin and the Avery family, focusing on Steven Avery as the protagonist and his nephew Brendan Dassey, the unfortunate collateral damage. Filmed across ten years, the series covers 31-years of history, that includes sexual assault, attempted murder, jail, bad police work, exoneration, murder, and some very dodgy investigation and procedures fraught with the stink of corruption covering virtually every level of law enforcement from the county sheriff department to correctional facilities and possibly as high up as the FBI alongside the prosecution and judges. While the series certainly involves us feeling incredibly sorry for the very poor Avery family and offers a one-sided perspective to this story with some rather significant details conveniently not included, there are many definitive areas of shifty sh*t with corruption, cover ups and conspiracy.
But if there’s one true sensation about Netflix’ ‘Making A Murderer’, it’s not actually a 30-odd year case involving two men, two rapes, one murder, a corrupt department and a $36 million lawsuit. It’s the incredible number of casualties the justice system failed. The system didn’t just neglect and abandon Steven Avery in 1985, 1995 and yet again in 2005 in every way conceivable. It mightily failed sixteen-year-old with below-average IQ of 69 Brendan Dassey. The system also failed Penny Beernsten and Teresa Halbach. It failed Steven’s first wife Lori and his children. And their children. It failed his fiancée. It failed his family, especially his niece Kayla Dassey, his sister Barb Dassey and his parents Allan and Dolores Avery. The justice system even failed Gregory Allen. The entire team of defence lawyers. The community of Manitowoc County. The Halbach family. The Wisconsin Innocence Project. The true sensation is not that the justice system failed more than twenty people and a legal defence team of eight directly as well as an entire community. The true phenomenon of ‘Making A Murderer’ is that we don’t know exactly who the justice system has failed – because this is merely one example where it failed spectacularly and was caught on camera.
Ten-part documentary series ‘Making A Murderer’ streams on Netflix.