With comparisons to the podcast Serial and HBO’s incredible documentary The Jinx, Making A Murderer was always going to be on my radar. The trailer blew me away and I was literally counting down the days to December 18th when all 10 episodes were released on Netflix. I watched them all in the space of a few days and then rewatched them a week later. After both viewings I was speechless.
Like Serial and The Jinx, Making A Murderer appeals to the general public for a number of different reasons. Firstly there’s the actual story. Did Avery really do it? Was Brendan Dassey even involved? Why does Lieutenant Lenk keep popping up everywhere? The overall story is compelling enough to keep any drama or crime enthusiast hooked. It’s the whodunit element that immediately draws viewers because, well if Avery didn’t do it, who did? The conspiracy theories presented are another reason why so many people are obsessed. If Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department did set Avery up, how did they do it? Who in the department was involved? And most importantly, why would certain people risk throwing away their reputations and livelihoods to destroy one man’s life?
This is a show that was born for the water cooler moment. Everyone who watches it will have an opinion on all the questions above plus many, many more. This is a show that we can debate with each other, throw out theories and listened intently to other people’s ideas. But then there’s the kicker moment when we remember that this story that we’re so heavily debating is in fact real and it’s happening right now. At this exact moment Steven Avery is in his jail cell and, regardless of our thoughts and opinions on the case, there’s nothing we can do about it.