The Netflix original documentary “Making a Murderer” sparked considerable controversy after its release in December 2015. This series generated a lot of hype through both the Internet and traditional media. All over the country, people have been posting their own theories about the documentary, demanding justice for Steven Avery. “Making a Murderer” centers on Avery, a small town man from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In 1985, Avery was wrongly convicted of sexually assaulting Penny Beerntsen, which resulted in his 18-year wrongful imprisonment. Fast-forward to 2003 when Avery is finally released from jail after new evidence led to the conviction of a different man responsible for assaulting Beerntsen; that’s where the documentary begins.
“Making a Murderer” follows Avery through a new case for which he is being tried. This time, he is accused of murdering Teresa Halbach, who disappeared after leaving Avery’s property. Watching this documentary is proof of how the United States’ justice system is riddled with corruption.
Avery is fortunate to have two incredibly honest and fair lawyers defending him in this trial, and they prove the prosecution wrong time and time again. Prosecutor Ken Kratz clearly has it out for Avery from day one. Watching Kratz speak so negatively against Avery can be frustrating at times, especially since all of the evidence that he presents to the jury is tainted. But with the entire Manitowoc County police department on his side, his confidence is steadfast throughout this case.
The drama continues when Avery’s 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey comes forward and confesses to accompanying Avery in murdering Halbach. Dassey is very impressionable and easily swayed by interrogators. Furthermore, Dassey struggles with learning disabilities and is only at a fourth grade reading level. It’s deplorable that the Manitowoc County neglected to take this important fact into consideration when using Dassey as a witness.
“Making a Murderer” is a fantastic representation of the supreme corruption that lies within the justice system. It’s difficult to even use the word “justice” after watching this documentary. The prosecution and the judge in Avery’s trial fail to recognize that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and Avery is never given the benefit of the doubt.
Avery’s lawyers Dean Strang and Jerry Buting are the shining lights in this series. Their knowledge is expansive and they are true professionals. They faithfully and—more importantly—rationally defend Avery.
The Avery family comes from a very simple, rural background. As the documentary proceeds, issues within the family are uncovered. Nevertheless, like Avery’s lawyers, Avery’s parents Allan and Dolores Avery unwaveringly stick by their son.
Regardless of the fact that Steven Avery faces a troublesome life, it’s heartwarming to see his parents support him unconditionally and illustrate their tight family bond. Issues with the law tend to tear families apart and it certainly does this to members of the Avery family. Steven Avery, however, is fortunate to have his parents trust in his innocence.
This documentary is full of cliffhangers and unexpected twists that keep the audience on their toes throughout the entire series. It’s hard not to empathize with Steven Avery, even though he is accused of such a heinous crime. His defense is resilient, which provides a glimmer of hope within the U.S. justice system.
“Making a Murderer” provides a thorough look into the corruption that lies within our courtrooms. “Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t necessarily prevail and this documentary serves as an important window into the ramifications of being accused of a crime you did not commit.