Remember when everyone was getting excited about the Netflix Original Series, Making a Murderer? Even now, if I type “Steven” into Google, “Steven Avery” is one of the first suggestions. The documentary series that followed his awful, bungled, case was fascinating and is at least partly due credit for the fact that Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey having his conviction overturned.
The documentary followed hot on the heels of This American Life’s podcast, Seriel, following the case of of Adnan Syed, the highschooler convicted of mudering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Again, the case was confusing and the documentary makers went back over the evidence trying to work out what really happened.
It’s clear there’s an appetite for true crime at the moment, both the Netflix series and the podcast were hugely compelling and were rewarded by being hugely successful. Seriously, if you’re somehow just hearing of these now, put them on your To-Watch and To-Listen lists as soon as possible.
At some point when discussion Making a Murderer, a friend said that if I was enjoying it I should also look out for The Jinx. It was similar, but rather than looking at a case where someone ended up with jail time, it was a case where someone got away. That, as you might imagine, gives the show a different mood.
It’s a six part series and follows the story of Robert Durst (aka Bob, Bobby and, at times, all kinds of different things). He’s a millionaire. His family are in real estate. If you’re as big a fan as I am of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you may even recognise him.
His brother, Douglas, has a restraining order against him and hires body guards if he thinks there’s a chance Bobby will show up. In 1982 his wife disappeared and was never seen again. As the documentary unfolds, that isn’t even the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in relation to Robert Durst.
It. Is. Fascinating. It’s also pretty scary. There’s a moment where Durst is arrested and bail is set to $250,000 and he uses his one phonecall to ring his wife (with whom he has never lived as a partner) who says, “sure, ok, it’ll be there in the morning.” Durst makes bail the next day and, deciding he doesn’t want to hang around, just gets on a plane and vanishes.
All of this is in real life, remember. He’s not some imagined character by someone writing slightly unbelievable fiction. If you don’t feel like watching the documentary you can go and find the relevant newspaper articles that were published at the time.
With things like this it’s hard to know how much to give away in a review. I don’t want to write something that will be a spoiler to anyone who hasn’t heard the stories but, on the other hand, it’s not fiction – it’s been in the news. So can I spoil it? I’m not sure. I’m erring on the side of caution so I’ll stop here. What I will say is, if you liked Making a Murderer of the first season of Serial, or even if you like murder mysteries or true crime generally, you’ll love The Jinx.