When Making a Murderer debuted on Netflix late last year, it incited a cultural frenzy. Following the egregious miscarriage of the Justice System that is the life of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man exonerated for a crime by DNA evidence after 18 years in prison, only to find himself back in custody in connection with a brutal murder only a few years later, and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who unwittingly implicated himself in the crime, filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos spent nearly a decade documenting the trial, from its infuriating beginning to its soul-crushing end.
But, thanks to the hit Netflix series, and the tremendous public outcry that followed, the end may not be so resolutely demoralizing as it once seemed. Attorney Kathleen Zellner, who has spent the last 20 years overturning wrongful convictions, has taken on Avery’s case, and Ricciardi and Demos have reached out to Zellner about the prospect of continuing their coverage of Avery’s case are considering new installments of the true-crime documentary series.
Variety reports that during a Stranger Than Fiction panel discussion at New York’s IFC Center, the filmmaking duo expressed their continued interest.
“From our perspective this story is obviously not over,” Ricciardi said. “It’s real life and (Avery and Brendan Dassey’s) cases are both still pending. We have no idea when the magistrate will make a decision in Brendan’s case. We do know that two potential outcomes are that the judge could order Brendan’s release or he could order a new trial. So we are on the edge of seats about that. To the extent that there are significant developments, we would like to continue documenting this (case).”
Nothing is clear about the Avery case except how wildly mismanaged it has been at every level. Avery has maintained his innocence from day one, but there has been thorough and relentless scrutiny of his character and its portrayal in the series. Some have lobbied criticism that the filmmakers go out of their way to paint a sympathetic portrait of Avery while neglecting his darker personality traits, but what makes Making a Murderer such a powerful work is that Avery’s guilt or innocence isn’t really the issue. Honestly, I’d just as soon send a man to prison for soaking a cat in gasoline and lighting it on fire (which Avery actually did), but what stands true above all else, regardless of innocence or guilt, is the shattering realization of how deeply flawed the judicial process is, and the terrifying acknowledgement that it could happen to anybody. Which is all to say, this is absolutely a story that justifies the further telling of it.
What do you think? Would you like to see how Avery’s new representation are handling his case? Would you watch more or did you burn out on dispair with the first series? Sound off below.