The Netflix series Making a Murderer is a ten-part documentary, written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. The series follows the Teresa Halbach murder case from the beginning up until present day. The series, filmed over the course of ten years, details the trials of both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. Avery is the primary focus of the series, based on his past history with the law. Avery served 18 years in prison as an innocent man for the sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being fully exonerated in 2003. His exoneration came just two years prior to being charged with the murder of Halbach, in the same county, by the same sheriff’s office that had previously caused him to lose nearly two decades of his life. The series leaves viewers to wonder if the authorities who wronged him the first time, set out to frame him once again in an attempt to avoid paying out millions of dollars to settle a civil suit resulting from his wrongful conviction.
The series makes for compelling television, not only due to the legal aspects of the case, but also due to the extensive footage covering the Avery family. The Averys (sadly as it may be due to their circumstances) are entertaining to watch. The entertainment factor may cause some who watch the series to forget that the documentary is dealing with real people. The story of Teresa Halbach is a tragedy that was compounded by a failed investigation of her disappearance and death.
Steven Avery’s first wrongful conviction jeopardized public safety by allowing the real perpetrator to remain free. When the authorities finally discovered who actually committed the crime, it was too late. When investigators set out to find the person who matched the DNA collected at the time of the crime, they discovered that the real perpetrator, Gregory Allen, was in prison serving 60 years for an unrelated assault which took place after Avery’s wrongful conviction. Has history repeated itself? Has Teresa Halbach’s murderer (or murderers) been left free to murder again?
Making a Murderer Trailer