Anyone watching Netflix's Making a Murderer?

I never quite know how to handle spoilers for Netflix shows, so I’ll just lay out the basics. This is a documentary TV 10-episode series that just landed on Netflix yesterday, about a man who was exonerated for a rape for which he served 18 years in prison. He brought a civil case against the police/DA, but then he was accused of a murder. The show is about how that happened–essentially, did the years in prison make him a murderer? Or did he not actually do it?

I’m on episode 3 so far, and I’m getting sucked in. Very much in the same vein as Serial or The Jinx…but in many ways much sadder. Has anyone else started watching? (Or finished?!)

Thanks for the heads up. We are trying to watch but Netflix keeps freezing for some reason.

Sorry to hear that, raventhief. I haven’t had any issues on my end, not yet anyway. Let me know what you think if you’re able to get further.

I’ve added it to my list, but have not yet started watching.

Just finished. So completely disillusioned by the justice system. Ugh. There were so many times I just wanted to punch my TV while watching this.

My wife binge-watched it this weekend and I had one eye on it (plus she was more than helpful with commentary :rolleyes: ). Frankly, this is one of those cases that should make prosecutors glad I don’t get called up for jury duty more often. There are at the very least egregious flaws with the handling of the case:

[ul]the law-enforcement agency that he was suing for his first conviction, obstensibly recused, interfered in the investigation, to the point where they may have planted evidence;
the testimony of one of the officers who was looking for the victim’s SUV is inconsistent with the recorded call of him confirming that he was looking right at it; long story short, the “lucky find” of this vehicle in the salvage yard owned by the guy is anything but;
the “confession” of the UNDERAGE nephew, over a period of days, who was denied both parental advice and professional counsel, and was clearly led by LEO’s into confessing about events that may not have even happened.


I’m about half way through, so I don’t know how it turns out (resisting google, and I had never heard of this case before). But, Jesus, it looks like this guy made some vindictive enemies who are out to frame him.

And, I still think Adnan did it in Serial, so I think I’m a tough one to convince!

This was beyond ridiculous. Not only were the leading him, it’s pretty apparent that this kid is, at best, borderline intelligence enough to know what the hell is going on around him.

They show a scene of Brendan’s own defense lawyer’s investigator basically browbeating him into telling the “truth.” It’s so gross. Just horrifying. That kid…god.

The breakout star is, no doubt, the super cute reporter lady who is in all the press conference scenes.

Wait, so this isn’t fiction? I just started watching and assumed it was a faux documentary, all treated to look like home footage etc. But then I looked it up on IMDB because one of the guys they interview has a really familiar sounding voice, and there’s nobody listed under “Cast” except Steven Avery as himself.

Later on you’ll find it harder to convince yourself that it’s not fiction.

“Making a Murderer” is a captivating documentary. It almost comes across like a scripted drama at times. I think it makes a good case that something was seriously fucked up with that investigation. I can understand why Avery was a suspect, but from what was presented in the documentary it appears the police didn’t bother seriously pursuing other lines of inquiry. The interrogation of his younger relative seems like a textbook case of a coerced confession.

However, I am aware that filmmakers can have an agenda and can frame and edit things however they want. (The film did mention some of Avery’s sordid past early on, but every now and then I would have to remind myself that the cuddly-looking down-to-earth good-ol’-boy once burned a cat alive for fun.) I would love to see a similar documentary from “the other side” detailing the best evidence of Avery’s guilt. It’s possible this is a situation like with OJ Simpson. where the police framed a guilty man.

I can’t even believe they handed down such a long sentence for an assault that wasn’t even a rape or murder. Some people have gotten less than 32 years for actual murder.

And they mention that while he is serving his original sentence actual murderers get paroled and he is offered a parole as soon as he confesses to the crime he didn’t commit. And he refuses.

I did have that same reaction myself. I found myself forgetting and reminding myself of his past.

And I, too, found myself wishing it was all fiction.

That’s a very strange thing to say. Why did you “have to remind yoursel(ves)” of that? To feel less empathetic toward him, morally superior about yourselves, or just a little of both?

No, it’s the young lawyer in Episode 10.

I don’t think it’s a strange thing to say at all. Most of the 10 plus hour series points toward this guy getting royally railroaded. Twice. It’s very easy to view him as 100% victim.

But, it’s pretty clear in the first episode that he isn’t the greatest guy in the world, which is not mentioned for the final nine hours of the documentary. It’s something that you have to remind yourself.

I’m a few more episodes in now, and as a scientist, I’m offended by that EDTA test. The defense witness they showed brought up many of the right points, but seemed to miss one important one.

The right points that she brought up are the limit of detection (LOD) and what a negative result actually means. Here’s how one would develop this assay. First, you would spike EDTA at increasing concentrations into an ideal buffer. You would then set up an experiment to reasonably detect that spiked in EDTA and show that in the absence of EDTA, you don’t get a signal, and at increasing concentrations you get an increasing signal. This would validate the assay (under those ideal conditions) and provide an LOD for that assay; in other words, what is the lowest concentration of EDTA that it is possible to detect (again, under those ideal circumstances). The important question is whether that LOD is actually higher than what would be in the blood sample. If the LOD is higher than the expected concentration, then obviously the assay won’t work to detect EDTA in your blood sample. In this case, they didn’t provide an LOD. Without an LOD, this assay is 100% meaningless. That the defense attorneys allowed them to get away with this is insane. Demand access to the raw data and determine the LOD.

Because it gets to point 2 that the defense witness brought up, which is that a negative result, particularly a negative result without an LOD provided, either means that their is no EDTA (which is the conclusion that the prosecution obviously wanted) or it means that your assay is not able to detect the low levels of EDTA. Without an LOD, either result is equally likely. Actually, I would tend toward believing it is more likely to be an assay problem than anything else.

Which brings me to point 3 that the defense expert didn’t bring up. The prosecution did not provide any details about the EDTA assay. As I mentioned, step 1 would be spiking EDTA into an ideal buffer and making sure that you could detect it. Step 2 would be trying to replicate the actual sample. In this case, the assay would have to show not that they are able to detect EDTA in ideal buffer, or even spiked into blood (which would be more challenging), but that they are able to detect EDTA when it is present in the same concentration that it is in Steven Avery’s blood sample AND when that sample has been smeared on to a surface, allowed to dry for a long time and then swabbed and tested.

There is no indication that they did this, and any scientist willing to sign off on the release of this data without an LOD probably didn’t do this. If you haven’t shown that your assay can detect EDTA that is present in low concentrations in dried blood, then your assay is unvalidated for this purpose. Without providing this data their data that there was no EDTA in that sample is meaningless. I find it very likely that their assay is completely incapable of detecting EDTA under the conditions that the blood in the car was held. In fact, I find it more likely than not that their assay would be completely unable to detect EDTA in those real world conditions, and it would be trivial for them to do it the right way to prove otherwise.