Documentary week: Making a Murderer (Season 1) TV Review

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I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!

The best aspect of Making a Murderer is that it is a true story. There will be times when you sit, incredulous at the TV, almost shouting as different facts and revelations come to light. If this story was a drama, you’d criticise the story, claiming it could never happen.

That is also the other strength of the show, it is so well-crafted. Ten episodes are used perfectly to tell the story. There is no rushing, no skipping to the best points or the great, juicy details. It is meticulous with it’s narrative, pouring over every detail so the only questions asked are the ones wondering how the show’s subject, Steven Avery, was found guilty in the first place.

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Avery’s case is compelling

Not that the show is ever boring. In taking it’s time it also teases revelations, upcoming stories and knows how to keep an audience hanging on the edge of their seat. Netflix was the perfect platform for the show, as it demands binge-watching: each episode ending on a great cliffhanger, though void of forced drama.

Of course, the key is that all creators Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi had to do was present the evidence and tell the story in (almost entirely) chronological order. These events actually happened and it is perfectly left to the audience to come to their own conclusions.

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The show lets the evidence tell the story

The access the show has is also unparalleled. In an attempt to let the evidence do the talking, there is no overarching narration. Captions fill in the blanks that the majority of the interviews, monologues and video-footage can’t. The documentary isn’t telling you that Steven Avery is innocent, it is asking you to look at the evidence and decide for yourself.

Unfortunately though, it isn’t quite all the evidence. The issue lies in the fact that it is a one-sided, biased account because it is from the defense’s point of view. Whether by their own choice or the creators, the prosecution in Steven Avery’s case did not contribute, other than their court room evidence and insightful press conferences. It means that you can’t help but feel slightly unsure to how balanced the show is. It doesn’t feel biased but you can’t be sure key points haven’t been omitted or maybe avoided altogether.

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You are left to come to your own conclusions

Most of the evidence can’t be denied though and even if this was a biased account, you will still wonder how this man was caught in the predicament he was, or more importantly, how the people involved have gotten away with it.

Overall, Making a Murderer is a gripping, dramatic and most importantly true life account of one of the most baffling cases in American legal history. The case will anger you, confuse you and leave you astonished. It will also have you watching all ten episodes in a matter of days.

Best Episode – The whole season is one ten-hour movie. Every episodes is gripping.

Best performance – No performances but the two defense lawyers, Dean Strang and Jerome Buting, are modern day heroes.

Should there be another season? – Only if there is more to add to this extremely interesting case.

Season Rating – 4.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

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Gripping, must-see television



5 thoughts on “Documentary week: Making a Murderer (Season 1) TV Review

  1. It was an amazing show. Have you seen The Staircase? It’s like this as well. Did an article a while ago on other documentaries like this worth checking out.

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