Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2015 by Peter Sciretta
Yesterday I mentioned I recently got hooked on Netflix’s new doc-series Making A Murderer. If you haven’t yet checked it out, I urge you to do so, but don’t read this post as it will explore spoilers from the real-life events presented in the show. It seems like I was not alone in getting sucked into this long-form documentary series, and there has been a lot of coverage on the web this week. I did a deep dive and wanted to highlight some of the articles and topical news since the release of the series. We look at the following:
- The best theories as to what really happened.
- The story of how the series was created and filmed over ten years.
- Read about possibly shocking evidence that was not presented in the tv series.
- Could we get a Making A Murderer sequel?
- Online petitions have popped up demanding that President Obama take action
- Prosecutor Ken Kratz‘s Yelp page has been flooded with negative reviews, forcing the company to take action.
- Hacker group Anonymous claims they will make new evidence public
- The problem with treating true crime villains like fictional villains
All that and more, after the jump.
How Making A Murder Was Made
First up, Mashable gives us some insight into how the series was created, something I was wondering during the ten hours of gripping television. Filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi spent 10 years collecting over 700 hours of original footage (plus hundreds more hours of acquired footage) that would make the 10-part Netflix series, and started filming roughly from the time of the arrest through Avery’s conviction.
The duo first came across the case while reading a front page New York Times article on Nov. 23, 2005, back when they were graduate students at Columbia University in New York. … Following their Thanksgiving break in 2005, the duo found a car, packed a camera and trekked to the heart of America to cover Avery’s preliminary hearing. They had a total of two cameras and five people (Demos, Ricciardi and three of her relatives who lived in nearby Chicago) helping out on that first day of filming on Dec. 6. “We basically stayed a week to test the waters and feel whether there was a story there,” Demos said. … the decision was made to drive back to New York and temporarily pack up their lives to follow the case. They purchased a car and moved to Wisconsin, thinking they would be there maybe six months. By February of 2006, after conducing several key interviews, the two were ready to go back to New York to work and save money before returning to cover the case in full. But then they got a call: A press conference was happening (yep — the one in Episode 3). They rushed over immediately. Sure enough, the news announced at the conference (no spoilers) changed everything. They went back to their apartment and once again unpacked their boxes. The case continued to get more complex.
The series was initially planned as a two-hour documentary but it quickly grew too big for the traditional film format. They began pitching it as a multi-part series to HBO, PBS and various networks but no one wanted to invest in two unknown filmmakers. They continued to work on the project and eventually pitched it to Netflix in 2013 with “rough cuts of first three episodes, sketches of the next two and a 20-page outline of entire series.”
The New York Times adds that in the initial pitch to Netflix, Making A Murderer was initially conceived as an eight-episode series, but was later expanded to 10.
The Case Against Steven Avery From Evidence Not Presented In The TV Series
Former Wisconsin state prosecutor Ken Kratz has come out to speak with People Magazine following the release of Making A Murderer, claiming that the series intentionally left out some key pieces of evidence that supported the conviction of Steven Avery.
“You don’t want to muddy up a perfectly good conspiracy movie with what actually happened,” he said, “and certainly not provide the audience with the evidence the jury considered to reject that claim.” … “[Halbach’s murder] was planned weeks ahead of time,” Kratz said. “[Avery] asked for that same girl to be sent. He was ready for her.”
Pajiba has an interesting read titled “Evidence ‘Making a Murderer’ Didn’t Present in Steven Avery’s Murder Case” which presents some evidence that isn’t presented to us in the docu-series. For instance, the article claims the following:
In the months leading up to Halbach’s disappearance, Avery had called Auto Trader several times and always specifically requested Halbach to come out and take the photos. Halbach had complained to her boss that she didn’t want to go out to Avery’s trailer anymore, because once when she came out, Avery was waiting for her wearing only a towel (this was excluded for being too inflammatory). Avery clearly had an obsession with Halbach. On the day that Halbach went missing, Avery had called her three times, twice from a *67 number to hide his identity. Teresa’s camera and palm pilot were found in Avery’s burn barrel.
Avery had purchased handcuffs and leg irons like the ones Dassey described holding Halbach only three weeks before (Avery said he’s purchased them for use with his girlfriend, Jodi, with whom he’d had a tumultuous relationship — at one point, he was ordered by police to stay away from her for three days). The bullet with Halbach’s DNA on it came from Avery’s gun, which always hung above his bed.
In this phone conversation (transcript in link) with his mother (which is not entirely included in the docuseries), Brendan told his mother that he did it, that Steven made him do it, and that Steven had touched him (and others) inappropriately in the past.
Now I have not confirmed any of these claims to be true, I have only read the article presented by Pajiba. But its interesting some of this stuff that was supposedly left out to (very likely) help the filmmakers paint a narrative. Pajiba has a lot more including some transcriptions.