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In the past year or so, the entertainment world has found a new love for the true crime genre, with the podcast Serial becoming an instant classic while HBO’s The Jinx was an intoxicatingly mysterious look into the life and crimes of Robert Durst. Now Netflix is joining the party, and it has added to its library the docu-series Making a Murderer, which is based on one of the craziest criminal cases to ever exist.
Making a Murderer will be focused on the complicated story of the seemingly troubled Steven Avery, who was arrested at 23 years old for several crimes, including the rape of a woman, in 1985. Avery spent the next 18 years in jail, some of it for those non-rape crimes, and was then released, only to go right back to jail. As a life-based spoiler alert, if you have no idea who Steven Avery is, and you want to go into this future series as clueless as possible, go ahead and skip the two paragraphs after the snazzy looking official poster below.
It was revealed in 2005 through DNA evidence and the efforts of the Wisconsin Innocence Project that Avery was not guilty of the sexual assault at all. And after getting out of jail, he and his lawyers popped a huge lawsuit against the town and its lawmakers. Good times, right?
Well, his case did get a new bill passed by state legislatures to avoid wrongful convictions, and it was called the Avery Bill temporarily. On the downside, it happened to coincide with the disappearance of photographer Teresa Halbach, who was never seen again after she left to go and meet Avery regarding photos of a vehicle. Avery was charged with her murder in October of 2005, and found guilty 16 months later, thereafter sentenced to life without parole. Since then, work has been done to get an appeal, but it has all been unsuccessful as of now.
Putting Making a Murderer together are directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, who have been building up the project for the last decade, tackling the facts from all angles and pointing a spotlight at the investigations for both of Avery’s cases. Because of Avery’s criminal troubles in the past, his reputation played a role in the accusations against him, and I’m assuming that’ll be part of the narrative, among many other interesting details.
Shows like Life and Rectify have proven that excellent TV narratives can be taken from longtime prisoners who return to the outside world. The uniqueness of Avery’s case, combined with the fact that it actually happened, make me think that this could be one of the most entertaining shows of the year, as disturbing as it may end up being.
Joining the other Netflix Original docu-series Chef’s Table, Making a Murderer will debut on Netflix in its entirety on Friday, December 18.