The Truth at All Costs

Making a Murderer: Part 2 *SPOILERS AHEAD*

Netflix’s serial documentary marvel ’Making a Murderer’ returns and is not holding back.

With the only glimpse of series two being a short audio tease, the follow up to the documentary phenomenon is shrouded in secrecy despite updates in the case being out in the public domain. The new series promises to take viewers behind the scenes of the new legal cases for Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.

Part 2 starts with the media furore that surrounded the release of its first series almost three years ago. Directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos remind us of the importance of the search for the truth in this case for the memory of Teresa Halbach. We gain a greater understanding of who Teresa was and the people who she impacted in her short life.

The media storm continues with claims of key evidence being left out… but they’re hitting them straight on.

“meritless and ridiculous”

When confronted with claims that the first series was biased and left out key evidence, one of the series directors Moira Demos called the accusations “meritless and ridiculous”. The documentary series director found the comments from former prosecutor Ken Kratz amusing considering they made a conscious effort to try and make Katz’s arguments in court appear “compelling”.

Demos also explained that the evidence focused on in Part 1 was based on the prosecution’s key evidence in their arguments. The sweat on the hood latch being a main point of contention from the outspoken former prosecution since the release of the series in December 2015. The presence of sweat was more of an ‘afterthought’ by the prosecution in the original trial, which is why Demos explains it was omitted from the first series.

The director confirmed to us that there is “really no question about the hood latch by the end of 2.01”

But it’s not the documentary directors Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi who are pursuing Steven Avery’s innocence in Part Two.

“I hate liars”

Kathleen Zellner breathes new life into the Avery case when she takes the reins as attorney, with the momentum of the first series which brought “the miscarriage of justice” in Steven’s case to her.

Zellner has an impressive track record that has seen her overturn 17 wrongful convictions but proclaims “I hate liars”.

She soon turns the belief that she will do anything to get Avery acquitted on its head by confirming that she is committed to uncovering the truth at any cost. She is not only going to prove that Steven Avery is not the murderer of Teresa Halbach, but is going to give the most plausible and compelling argument for how her death occurred.

Early on in her journey on the case in episode 1 we see her prove that the prosecution are lying about one piece of evidence. From here she begs the question: what else are they lying about?

10 years in the making

It’s crazy to think that the first series of Making a Murder was a decade in the making, with the directors embarking on the project as film students back in 2005. They admit that there was no way they could anticipate the reaction to the documentary series. Laura Ricciardi even told us that if they failed to find a buyer they were planning to release the series on YouTube. But we’re sure Netflix are glad they didn’t.

In its first 35 days on the platform 19.5 million viewers had watched the series in its entirety.

With the first series being 10 years in the making, Part 2 will be just under three years since the debut of Part One. Laura Ricciardi told audience members of preview screening that they embarked on the second series in early 2016 and had their last day of photography this summer. It was essential for them to edit throughout production to streamline the filmmaking process. The rightful cash injection from Netflix allowed the filmmakers to have crews of their own, rather than self shooting as they had for the majority of Part 1. The content and structure of Part 2 changed as they were filming.

What was once a two part sequel series will now have a full ten episode run.

“Steven and Brendan are fighters”

When asked whether they ever expected any sentences to be overturned after their first series, Ricciardi said that the only thing they were sure of were that “Steven and Brendan are fighters” and would continue to fight. She also added they hoped they would be there for such a verdict to be given.

The new ten part series Making a Murderer: Part 2 is available exclusively on Netflix on October 19th.

written by Lewis Bayley for Bournemouth Film School