Television: Netflix worldwide hit docu-series Making A Murderer back with Part 2
Making A Murderer Part Two takes us back to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to follow the post-conviction process of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, the pair behind the huge Netflix hit, tell us more
IT'S three years since the world became obsessed with the stories of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, the subjects of Netflix's Making A Murderer, which became an instant hit after its launch in December 2015.
Filmed over 10 years, Part One of the US thriller-documentary showed how Avery, a DNA exoneree, was in the midst of exposing police corruption when he became a prime suspect in the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
At the end of the first 10 episodes, Avery was sentenced to life in prison, along with his nephew Dassey, who has learning difficulties and, at age 16, confessed to helping his uncle kill Halbach. Both remained hopeful about the possibility of their eventual release.
So, what can we expect from Making A Murderer Part Two?
This time, the twists and turns follow the post-conviction process of Avery and Dassey.
"We're documenting and showing the experience of someone who's convicted, serving life, and challenging their sentence," says Demos.
It's also clear from the first episode, she adds, that Manitowoc is not the same world it was in Part One, because of the show's global success.
WE MEET KATHLEEN ZELLNER
There are major new characters involved – including Chicago-based lawyer Kathleen Zellner, who specialises in wrongful convictions, and took on Avery's case shortly after Part One aired, vowing to prove his innocence.
"We've never witnessed anybody working in the way that she does: her strategy, her methodology, her confidence, her vision," notes Ricciardi.
"She doesn't want to use her abilities, her experience, to free someone who she believes actually committed the crime, or knows committed the crime."
THERE ARE STILL UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
We see Zellner assemble a host of world-class experts who employ the latest scientific methods to raise questions about the forensic evidence used to convict Avery in the 2007 case – including the discovery of his sweat DNA on the hood latch of Halbach's car.
"What I understood Kathleen's DNA consultant to be saying is that there is no such thing as sweat DNA," says Ricciardi. "I think the closest thing there would be is DNA that's left behind from someone touching an object."
WE SEE NEW PERSPECTIVES
A huge number of people have been involved in Making A Murderer. But it was notable the family of victim Halbach were absent from the first series.
"We asked the Halbachs if they wanted to directly participate, if they wanted to sit down with us, and they declined both for Part One and Part Two," says Ricciardi.
She reasons we still heard their point of view though through Mike Halbach, Halbach's brother who was a self-appointed spokesman for the family and gave a number of press conferences. But they've tried to find creative ways to include the Halbachs.
"We had licensed footage from a local media outlet and they had some archival footage where they filmed with Mrs [Karen] Halbach in her kitchen, where it was at a point were Teresa was missing and [she] was very upset," adds Ricciardi.
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS EXPLORED FURTHER
Dassey's post-conviction lawyers, Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin, are seeking to overturn their client's conviction in the federal courts by arguing that Dassey's confession, the key element of the prosecution's case against him, was coerced.
Another interesting element of Part Two is that there was an opportunity for parties who were not involved in the litigation to file what is called a friend of the court brief.
"They can say, 'We know a lot about this particular field, and we want to try and help educate the court or the judges who are going to hear the case'," Ricciardi explains.
:: Making A Murderer: Part 2 is released on Netflix Friday October 19.