Chances are you have watched Netflix’s original crime-documentary “Making a Murderer,” the show that has people around North America calling for a Presidential pardon for the show’s protagonist, Stephen Avery. Throughout the 11-episodes, which can definitely be completed in a single day, the show gets audiences more and more frustrated and enraged by the Judicial process in a small town in Wisconsin. By the end of it all, we are left wondering how the hell two innocent people are still spending their lives behind bars. Avery’s lawyers diligently made a strong case for their client; but in the end, to the bewilderment of us all, the jury finds him guilty of murder and sends him away for life.
It is documentary film-making at its best. As viewers, we assume that we are omniscient and have the privilege of knowing all the facts and circumstances of the case. We believe that we witnessed the courtroom arguments from both sides, and that the show’s producers and directors gave us an impartial look into the entire judicial process. However, we saw what they wanted us to see. It is important to remember that we viewed 10 hours of entertainment, not 10-hours of C-SPAN-style drama. The directors took advantage of something called “editing.”
They masterfully put together a story that made us believe that Stephen Avery was not only innocent, but framed by his local Sheriff’s department. After watching the show, my blood was boiling. I wanted to know what was being done right now to free this innocent man and punish those involved in putting him behind bars. Like hundreds of thousands of viewers, I signed petitions demanding his release and read countless theories on Reddit of who actually killed the victim.
After a couple of days, my blood came back down to normal and I asked myself, “what didn’t I see?” “What did the directors leave out?” “Why did they only interview defence lawyers?” Doubt starting spreading through me as I realized that I let a television show convince me that a man convicted of murder was innocent. As rage was quickly replaced by stupidity, I began to fully understand how great of a show this was. The directors of Making a Murderer put together a story that built upon our anger episode by episode. We will never know the full story, we only know what we were shown over 10-hours of pure documentary-style entertainment. It’s time to we all take a step back and realize that it’s just tv.