Making a Murderer is getting a makeover. Much like the way E.L. James retold the tale of Fifty Shades of Grey from the POV of Christian Grey in the companion novel Grey, the story of Steven Avery will soon be seen from another angle in the forthcoming Convicting a Murderer.
Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos’s Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary series, which premiered in December 2015, told the twisted story of Avery, a man wrongfully convicted of attacking a woman in 1985, who served 18 years of a 32-year sentence before being exonerated–and then got arrested again for raping and murdering another woman in 2005, with the aid of his nephew. Ricciardi and Demos have been in production since summer 2016 on Making a Murderer season 2, which Netflix claims will focus on the post-conviction process and more recent developments. (Avery’s nephew, the learning-disabled Brendan Dassey, was just released from prison earlier this week.)
However, there are still quite a few lingering details about the Steven Avery conviction that Ricciardi and Demos may have eluded. The pair’s portrayal of Avery was rather sympathetic, which is perhaps why within a month of the series’ release, more than 400,000 fans had signed a petition to President Obama demanding Steven Avery be pardoned. But since then, many people familiar with the case have claimed the documentarians leaned too heavily on evidence that suggests the police in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, framed Avery, and ignored other details. (This piece in The New Yorker gives a detailed rundown of conveniently unmentioned inconsistencies in Avery’s story.) Convicting a Murderer marks one man’s quest to set the record straight.
The new series comes from Shawn Rech, the filmmaker behind documentaries such as A Murder in the Park. Although Rech has a reputation for working to exonerate the wrongfully convicted with his films, this series sounds a bit different. According to a statement Rech released,
“When ‘Making A Murderer’ was produced, many on the law enforcement side of the story could not, or would not, participate in the series, which resulted in a one-sided analysis of the case . . .This docu-series will examine the case and the allegations of police wrongdoing from a broader perspective.
Rech claims he will have “unprecedented access to District Attorney Ken Kratz, Lead Investigator Tom Fassbender, and other major players in State v. Avery” as he makes his series.
The filmmaker has yet to find a distributor for Convicting a Murderer, but based on the continued interest in the Avery case since 2015, success seems likely. Perhaps there’s also a market for my series pitch that follows a pair of dueling documentarians who cover the same trial from different perspectives . . . and fall in love?