So, you’ve read the headline, now I’ll ask you to put the pitchforks away! I am not saying that Making a Murderer isn’t a great documentary, it is. I happen to have a longstanding interest in crime drama and have seen every true crime doc I can get my hands on, including just about every single Dateline and 20/20 murder mystery ever produced (yes, I am serious), so I may be a little bit more numb to some of the shocking aspects presented in MAM and also have become accustomed to being provided significant information that was noticeably lacking when it came to the case against Steven Avery. Or perhaps it was the fact that my first introduction to the series was only days after it’s release when one of my loudmouth Facebook friends decided to write a short blurb about what they thought and thus, totally ruined any anticipation because I already knew how this thing was going to end. *Can we at least all agree that people like this need to be kicked off social media and exiled to a land where they get things 6 months later than everyone else because they can’t be trusted? Oh, wait, that’s China-ok let’s send them to live with the bootleggers then.
So, I will do you the kindness I was not allowed and tell you below this point are *SPOILERS*
Perhaps you’ve read my previous post reviewing the Serial Season 1 podcast Better than TV, in which case I will say – Hi, Mom. And for the rest, please be sure to check it out. I think that Serial was a far better journey and that is mostly because the series took the time to give a 360° look into the life, personal thoughts and key people inside the victims life around the time she was murdered. Statistically speaking, most women who are victims of violent crime and murder are killed by their current or past lovers. In MAM, there was a brief part about one of Teresa Halbach’s exes, who headed up part of the search party, but the segment came off more like an idea that was never fully developed. The MAM filmmakers suggest that the police never seriously looked into anyone else as a suspect beyond Steven Avery and I find it a little odd that they wouldn’t try to look into that themselves. While Serial Producer Sarah Koenig took on a quest to discover the truth about the death of Hae Min Lee, freely exposing all information uncovered no matter if it helped or hurt their working theories, it seems the Producers of MAM wanted to be little more than observers- for 10 years straight. The problem is that there is a lot of crucial information coming to light now that was omitted by the Producers that suggest certain bias. And, not all of these omissions are just the squawking of sexual abuser/disgraced Prosecutor Ken Kratz either, some of it is pretty big stuff that was presented at trial- Avery’s sweat DNA under the hood of the RAV4, Steven Avery blocking his number through a paid *67 service and calling Teresa’s cell three time the day of the murder, etc. I always felt throughout the documentary like there was something missing, I was so thirsty for someone to do some investigating or present some working theories, but every time we got close it was like someone just dropped the mic mid-song and then they cut to some boring BRoll of people putzing around in trailers – it drove me nuts!
Because of this, I think it’s impossible to make an informed opinion on whether or not Steven Avery murdered Theresa Halbach. I do think we can all share in universal disgust for the cops at the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s office, since they are undoubtedly crooked as hell. I really don’t know how Avery was convicted, but the most compelling evidence against him lies in the lack EDTA in the blood found inside Teresa’s vehicle. I don’t doubt for a second that a bunch of bored local jazzhole cops would have all the time in the world to abuse their power to set someone up for murder, but I doubt their reach would have extended into the FBI. I suspect that if the government functioned that well, I wouldn’t have had exactly half of my trackable packages shipped via USPS in 2015 disappear (screw you, postal service!).
However, I do feel confident that Brendan Dassey, the learning disabled 16-year-old nephew of Avery was taken advantage of in a way that makes me want to tear Len Kachinsky and the case investigators to shreds. Watching his story and the pain his mother felt broke my heart. I know it’s hard to understand why someone would confess to seeing and participating in things that didn’t actually happen, but it makes me think of an interview 20/20 did with Amanda Knox (who I have also written about previously and you can check out here I was Amanda Knox) and she had a similar experience in an Italian prison after her roommate was murdered. Amanda explained her false confession came after being cooped up in a room for hours on end, having the same things repeated at nausea, they call you a liar and break you down, and shout at you to just tell the truth and then you can go home. According to Knox, at some point you are just tired and foolish enough to think that if you tell them what they want to hear, then it will all go away. I believe even though he was not capable of finding the right words to string together to explain why he had confessed, that this is what happened to Brendan Dassey as well.
My Working Theory:
I think that it’s very possible Steven Avery didn’t commit the murder and that someone who was close to him did. When you narrow the list and look at who had motive and opportunity, you would need to look at the other family members at the property October 31, 2005. I always had a weird feeling about Bobby Dassey when he was on the stand, he seemed almost gleeful when he testified. It turns out that Barbs husband Scott Tadych, a man known to have violent temperament and criminal past, and his step-son Bobby Dassey were each other’s alibis, which seems highly suspicious. They live next door, so the opportunity is obvious and as for the motive, we know there is a long history of turmoil in the family, including recently revealed allegations of sexual misconduct committed by Steven Avery on Bobby Dassey. There’s a lot more to this iceberg that could have been chipped away during Making a Murderer that they chose not to look into and even purposely pivoted away from by cutting out select pieces of a call Brendan made to his mother that made mention of the molestation.
I really don’t know what to make of it, but I will be interested to see what the “investigation team” a Reddit digs up down the line so I can develop my theory further.
What did you think about Making A Murderer? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and theories, feel free to post them in the comments section.
3 thoughts on “Why I didn’t love Making a Murderer as much as you”
Really good point that I hadn’t yet thought about — that what separates this story from Serial (and even The Jinx) is that those stories were more compelling, because we were following someone’s futile yet passionate quest to get to the bottom of the story. Murderer kind of gets there — in the way that the defense attorneys talk through alternate theories of the case… but you’re right, it would have been far more compelling had they chased after the truth in the same way. I definitely don’t feel as though MAM needed to be a 10 episode series…. My complaint is that almost every episode felt as though its runtime was padded by repeating bites — or at least letting their narrators and interview subjects repeat themselves.
I totally agree with you on the 10 episodes, I imagine the producers knew they only had enough content for 5 or 6 episodes, but Netflix wanted 10 so they did what only truly skilled producers can do and threw in 4 hours of snow covered car shots!
Write the date down – I agree with every word you said! 🙂