Why Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’ has ensnared a nation

(Image Credit: Netflix)

(Image Credit: Netflix)

Imagine going to prison for 18 years for a crime you didn’t commit. Now, imagine coming out of prison after all that time only to be locked up again. Frustrated yet?

Netflix’s Making a Murderer follows the case of Steven Avery, a man who was wrongfully convicted of a brutal rape and put behind bars for a long 18 years until DNA evidence was brought forward that proved his innocence. After a fleeting celebratory period of freedom, Avery is soon convicted for another rape and, this time, murder of a young woman named Teresa Halbach.

The dramatic tale seems unbelievable, but unfortunately for all involved, it is very real. The series tells the story from every angle. This includes the perspective of Avery and his family who stand behind his innocence, of Avery’s developmentally challenged nephew, Brendan Dassey, who provides a testimony that puts both Avery and himself at the scene of the crime after harsh questioning, but later denies all involvement, and of Avery’s lawyers, Jerry Buting and Dean Strang, who invest all of their time and effort into convincing the jury that the police had to have planted evidence in order for it to be present whatsoever.

We also hear very different stories from the police, who stand by their own innocence and Avery’s undeniable guilt, and from the devastated Halbach family, who desperately wants to see Teresa’s killer behind bars and attain some level of justice.

Viewers develop complicated relationships with each character, making it almost impossible to turn away once you’ve gotten involved. The suspense of watching the case unfold can be painful at times, but each new piece of evidence, whether it be from the prosecution or defense, makes it all the more difficult to stand confidently behind any one unwavering opinion.

The humanity of the show is what will really hook you. If Avery did it, then you want justice for the Halbach family and for a dangerous man to stay behind bars for life… but if he didn’t do it? That means putting a man in prison for life who has already wasted a large chunk of time paying for yet another crime he didn’t commit.

Can the criminal justice system actually be that flawed? Is there really any truth behind “innocent until proven guilty,” or are we presumed guilty upon accusation? Making a Murderer leaves that for you to decide.

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