What can we say? We like to play detective
For many of us it started with the Serial podcast: the rigorous, un-biased re-examining of the historical murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee, by journalist Sarah Koenig. It flipped a switch, and suddenly we were all a bit obsessed with true crime.
Since, we’ve revisited Truman Capote’s seminal book In Cold Blood (the creative re-telling of the 1959 murder of a young family by two merciless killers) and combed the details of the infamous Manson Murders like pros – and how could we not mention Making A Murderer? Surely the ultimate water-cooler topic at the first half of 2016?
And it would appear that TV stations are feeding our addiction with a host of on-point true-crime retellings to help us get our fix. Here’s the ones you need to know about…
This upcoming 10-episode series directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle focuses on the notorious and bizarre kidnapping of 16-year-old oil-fortune heir, John Paul Getty III. The story starts in 1973, the year the young man was seized by members of an Italian mafia-like gang and held in the mountains for five months under a $17 million ransom his family refused to pay. Television network FX describes the show as: “equal parts family history, dynastic saga and satirical examination of the corrosive power of money.”
Beware The Slenderman
HBO’s latest true-crime offering is here to fill the Making-a-Murderer-shaped hole in your life. Beware the Slenderman documents the traumatising Internet lore of the Slenderman – a haunting character that emerged from a meme in 2009. The focus of this docu-series is the chilling murder of a 12-year-old girl stabbed by two of her classmates who believed they were carrying out an act of loyalty to this invented character. The programme also makes comment on the disturbing ways in which digital media is monstering the imaginations and influencing the actions of children.
Between 1994-95 OJ Simpson’s murder trial caused a worldwide media storm. The NFL player turned actor was accused of stabbing ex wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman, in a cold-blooded act dubbed ‘the crime of the century’. Simpson was acquitted during the criminal trial (at which Robert Kardashian was one of his defense lawyers) but later found liable during a civil trial. This BBC screened renactment has an all-star cast (Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta David Schwimmer, Selma Blair and Sarah Paulson) and runs the gamut of contentious issues: race, sex and violence.
If you haven’t already set aside a day to binge watch this Netflix docu-series, make it a priority. It tells the controversial and corruption-packed story of Steven Avery a man wrongly jailed for 18 years for attempted murder and sexual assault. Eventually DNA evidence cleared him of the crime but he was accused of another completely separate murder just two years after his release. Has he been framed again? It’s time to play detective.
Much like Making a Murderer, this six-episode HBO documentary series features interviews with a real life murder suspect. This time it’s Robert Durst, a real estate heir accused of murdering his wife, a close friend and a former neighbour. It’s gripping, particularly the parts where Durst makes some gamechanging confessions when he thinks the microphone is off.