Inside The Menendez Brothers Murder Case, What You Need To Know Before The Mini-Series

Tonight is the debut of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, which should do for the Menendez brothers murders what the O.J. Simpson miniseries did for the O.J. Simpson trial and investigation, which is to introduce the momentous crime to a whole new generation.

In 1989, Lyle, 21, and Erik Menendez, 18, killed their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, and plotted an elaborate cover-up that triggered an investigation, two trials, and two convictions. Like the O.J. Simpson case, the Menendez brothers murder case will have several retellings, but Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders will be the one starring Edie Falco that gives an incredible peek into the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

The O.J. trial of the mid-90s launched more than one miniseries, and many wondered if there was enough interest for one Simpson series, let alone two, but a new generation tuned in to learn about the background, the players, and the actual trial that acquitted O.J. Simpson.

Ezra Edelman, the director of the ESPN documentary about Simpson for the 30 For 30 series, said that the Simpson story had something for everyone, and that’s why more than one series was warranted.

“I think part of the appeal to the story is that it’s kind of about everything. It’s about everything, depending on who you are, and where you were raised and where you come from. It’s just a very telling story about our culture and about celebrity.”

While the story of the Menedez brothers murder case does not feature a professional athlete’s fall from grace, it does highlight two entitled young men, Lyle and Erik Menendez, who seemed to have everything, yet they brutally murdered their parents.

Erik Menendez, left, and his brother, Lyle, sit in the courtroom, Sept. 1, 1992 in Beverly Hills, California as a judge scheduled an October 13 court session to set a date to begin their preliminary hearing. The brothers are accused of murdering their wealthy parents three years ago

The murder case that will unfold in Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders will be experienced by a new generation that wasn’t born when Lyle and Erik Menendez plotted and carried out the murder of their parents. The cast of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders includes award-winning actress Edie Falco as colorful defense attorney Leslie Abramson, who put forth a valiant effort to humanize Lyle and Erik Menendez for the jury.

But a twist to the series about the Menendez brothers murder case is the lack of a twist. There is never a whodunnit because the murders were committed by Lyle and Erik Menendez. As a result, the series will focus again on the psychological study of why they did it. Midstream in defending Lyle and Erik Menendez, their story changed, and both brothers started telling their story of child sexual abuse and living in fear of their parents. The mystery of the miniseries, and what will never be known, is what really compelled the Menendez brothers, two wealthy, seemingly spoiled boys, to murder their parents.

And then, as a sidenote, as Town and Country mentions, are those sweaters. Whereas most men of means have the good sense to put on a jacket and tie for court when their lives and freedom is at stake, attorney Leslie Abramson dressed Lyle and Erik Menendez up like little boys going to brunch at a country club in matchy-matchy crewneck sweaters.

“Those stupid sweaters. Close your eyes and conjure the Menendez brothers, and they’re wearing matching sweaters the vivid, unnatural colors of jelly beans. The two handsome young men wore to court what one might wear to cocktail hour at the country club as if they were chilly after a tennis match. Maybe they were trying to look younger, or more wholesome, or otherwise less capable of murdering their parents. Instead, their sartorial choices only chiseled out their own caricature: the spoiled rich boys who thought they could get away with anything.”

Edie Falco says that it’s the psychological twists and intrigue that caused her to jump at the chance to play Leslie Abramson on the eight-episode Law & Order, True Crime: The Menendez Murders, which premieres tonight on NBC. Falco researched the case and watched tapes of Leslie Abramson in action.

“She was very driven to defend these boys. When I see footage of her, she’s definitely a bulldog.”

Falco said she had to put aside Leslie Abramson’s colorful exterior to find out what was going on inside.

“My approach toward playing a real person, I think it’s less about appearing like them physically and more appearing like them emotionally. I have to find out what makes them tick.”


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Law & Order, True Crime: The Menendez Murders premiers tonight at 10 p.m. EST.

Will you watch Law & Order, True Crime: The Menendez Murders tonight? How familiar are you with the Menendez case?

[Featured Image by Chris Martinez/AP Images]