If you're like us, everywhere you went this holiday season, people were talking or tweeting about one thing: Making a Murderer. (OK, in fairness, they were probably also talking and tweeting about gifts, food, New Year's resolutions, and Making a Murderer.)
We're guilty of talking about it a little ourselves around these parts (or maybe a lot), but for the uninitiated, just what is it about the Netflix true crime series that so thoroughly took over your holiday parties, your office lunch room, and the internet? Allow us to explain.
First, some facts. The 10-episode series tells the 30-year story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who served 18 years on a rape conviction that was later overturned by DNA evidence, leading to an exoneration and his release in 2003. Just two years later, while in the process of suing Manitowoc County and several officials associated with his arrest for a staggering $36 million, Avery found himself accused of the brutal murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who was last seen on the Avery family property.
The stranger-than-fiction case was documented over a period of 10 whopping years by filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, who were granted staggering access to the Avery family and the frustratingly twisty legal proceedings that seem to stymie them at every turn. Unlike The Jinx and Serial before them, Ricciardi and Demos don't insert themselves into the story they're telling. Rather, they allow the addicting, unnerving, and unquestionably sad story to tell itself, making it all the more powerful.
And oh, how sad it is. While you'll no doubt get caught up in playing armchair detective, spinning theories over what exactly happened at these points in Avery's life, prepare yourself for a maddening level of frustration. In a time when trust in law enforcement has never felt more rocky, Making a Murderer shines a light on just how flawed, unfair, and, ultimately, corrupt our justice system can be. It's an engrossing piece of television that will have you yelling at your screen at times, needing to step away for a break at others, and crafting theory after theory all throughout on just what happened in Manitowoc County ten years ago.
Regardless of what you walk away believing to be true in Avery's case, one thing is a certainty: Making a Murderer is a masterclass in documentary television that gets under your skin in the first episode and never gets out. And that's worth talking about.
All 10 episodes of Making a Murderer are streaming now on Netflix.