Making a Murderer's Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Over the last year, true crime has made a thundering return to the proverbial water cooler. A genre previously dominated by sensationalized TV news programs like NBC’s Dateline has found new life in streaming form–and as documentaries. Instead of taking on a new murder every week, this new family of programs focuses on one case over several episodes. Serial, a WBEZ podcast, wildly popularized the approach in 2014, leaving millions of listeners waiting for the next download to drop, all to find out if a Maryland teenager could have killed his ex-girlfriend in 1999. HBO quickly followed with success if it’s own in serial form, airing and streaming  the episodic documentary The Jinx. Now Netflix’s Making a Murderer takes up the baton for these documentaries told piece by piece. But, as the public binges on this content, the themes or arguments of their creators risk being lost in the clamor. The blunt approach of major news outlets can obliterate the nuance filmmakers craft into their work, reducing the work to the simple question of guilty or not guilty.

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