Anyone who’s seen Making a Murderer should realize some glaring things that helped make it one of the best documentaries of the modern age.
First, the story of a murdered middle-class white woman and a fringe-dwelling junk dealer who already sat wrongly in prison for almost 20 years as the prime suspect in the state that produced Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer has instant entertainment value. Perhaps it shouldn’t, but it does. Throw in a sexual assault, a teenage boy, and potentially dirty cops, and the price of the script only goes up. And there’s no telling just how popular a half-way decent production will be if the story is true. And for the people of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, the story of Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey, and Teresa Halbach is all too real.
Ken Kratz is correct that the docu-series leaves out facts crucial to the objectivity of the Halbach homicide and the associated murder trials. The documentarians have created a one-sided piece that allows their unequivocal belief that Dassey and Avery are innocent to emerge as the central theme. Cutting to the chase, it is more than permissible here because Dassey and Avery killed nobody.
Multi-Layered Conspiracy, Bad Policing, or Both?
Sex sells, as do lasting conspiracies of government cover-ups mired in the surreptitious workings of a corrupt underbelly. The Halbach case is no different. Kratz said it best in his closing statement, telling the jury that anyone who believes cops planted evidence must also be willing to accuse them of murder.
With the pending $36 million lawsuit and the fact that this junk dealer with a record had them over a barrel, it wasn’t such a stretch that a couple of officers went rogue and sacrificed a pretty, young photographer with a big smile and even grander dreams to take Avery out. But, sadly, there’s no concrete evidence to prove such a sexy story.
Enter a light-bulb moment when the killer realized Steven Avery had already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. All the killer needed was a couple of small-town cops, a bit of confirmation bias, and a rabbit hole big enough for both men. The case organically provided what it needed from there: a string of useful idiots, some with law degrees. By the time Tom Fassbender and Mark Wiegert got to Brendan Dassey, the rabbit hole was clogged with such foolery, anyone who crawled out risked being exposed. The best thing for everyone was to drag Avery and his 16-year-old nephew in, crawl out and bury them while Kratz sexted off into the sunset.
Meanwhile, Halbach’s killer remained hidden in plain sight, the best place to hide something when nobody wants to believe the wizard is just a man behind a curtain.
[Featured Image by Morry Gash/AP Images]