• FTC

Making a Murderer: Season 1

Updated: Nov 23

(available on Netflix)

FTC Rating: 4.5 out of 5

A man spends eighteen years in prison for sexual assault and attempted murder. After multiple appeals, Steven Avery is finally exonerated by DNA results and released in 2003. Before a potential windfall from a wrongful conviction lawsuit, Avery becomes the prime suspect in the 2005 murder of freelance photographer Teresa Halbach. Was he framed for the crime or did prison turn him into a cold-blooded murderer? This aptly named ten-part docuseries explores this question over a period of ten years.


Strengths:

-In depth analysis of the wrongful conviction case and its political implications, including interviews with Avery’s post-conviction lawyers, highlights of the Attorney General’s investigation, and the lawsuit against Manitowoc County

-The sheer volume of footage (from the trials, interviews, interrogations, photos, media reports, etc.) is staggering

-Excellent editing, seamless chronology of events told through various source materials

-Interesting insight into the Avery family history and their relationship with Manitowoc County

-A major highlight is the multiple recordings of Steven’s parents

Weaknesses:

-The story of Teresa Halbach’s life and death is sadly overshadowed

-Viewers may find the pace overly slow due to the amount of technical detail

-The Brendan Dassey trial was only covered briefly in episode 9

Final Thoughts:

-This is a story about Steven Avery’s journey through the justice system, largely told by his charismatic defence team, which ultimately results in an unbalanced accounting of events. I watched with a healthy scepticism, knowing it would not be a platform for the officials suspected of impropriety to defend their actions. Weighing these considerations and without drawing a conclusion about its overall credibility, I am confidently including “Making a Murder” among FTC’s favorite recommendations.

-A short interview with the filmmakers: https://playvoo.com/how-making-a-murderer-was-made-bbc-news/


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