Emily J. Sullivan
The first season of “Making a Murderer,” a true-crime documentary first premiering in 2015, was one of the most widely viewed series on Netflix.
Within the first 35 days, more than 19 million people watched the series. Now, nearly three years later, season two is out and the verdicts are in.
It tells the story of Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
When he was released after DNA evidence exonerated him, he filed a $36 million lawsuit against Mantiwoc County in Wisconsin.
In 2005, just a couple years after he was released, he was charged and arrested for the gruesome rape and murder of Teresa Halbach.
Steven’s 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey was also arrested for the crimes after he gave a detailed confession to Mantiwoc County investigators in a controversial interrogation. They were both convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
After season one viewers were left baffled.
Some are convinced the Mantiwoc County Police Department framed Steven Avery and coerced his nephew Brendan Dassey to confess in order to convict them for the crime, and squash the $36 million suit.
Other viewers are still unsure of Avery’s proposed innocence because of unexplained evidence, details that were left out of the documentary but can be found online, and a disbelief that someone could be framed in such a thorough way.
Season two aims to answer the questions that are still up in the air and meticulously address the evidential concerns, as well as the way in which Avery could have been framed.
Enter Kathleen Zellner: a criminal defense attorney who has reversed more wrongful convictions than any other American attorney. She’s tough, smart as a whip and now a true crime superstar.
The documentary follows Zellner while she recreates each piece of the crime, CSI style, trying to prove how it wouldn’t be possible with the evidence, or lack of evidence, provided in the case that the crime was carried out in the way the prosecution asserts it was.
Most compelling of Zellner’s tasks is her showcase of who actually may have committed the crime in the scenario that Avery is innocent.
The reasoning behind her accusations is riveting and convincing, persuading even the most skeptical viewers that Avery may not have done the deed.
The series ends with work still to be done, which leaves us all to ponder, will there be a “Making the Murderer” season three?
Emily J. Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.