It appears as though the makers of Making a Murderer may have cut some corners, if not quite as many as their titular subject.
As reported by The Wrap, former Wisconsin police sergeant Andrew Colburn has sued the Making a Murderer filmmaking team for defamation over how he’s presented in the series.
The controversial documentary chronicles the 2007 convictions of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Although filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos wisely leave some room for ambiguity, they present a lot of seemingly exculpatory details about the manner in which Avery was arrested, tried, and convicted. Their main path to the idea of Avery’s innocence involves suggesting that Manitowoc County police may have had their knives out for Avery following his exoneration for a previous crime and set him up this time.
It made for riveting Netflix bingeing in the heady days of January 2016, but since then, some questions have emerged that cast doubts on the show’s central theory. First, there was an insightful New Yorker piece about the conveniently unmentioned inconsistencies in Avery’s story, and then came news that an opposing series is in the works to set the record straight. Now comes this week’s defamation lawsuit, where Colburn claims that Ricciardi and Demos wrongfully accused him of framing Avery and Dassey.
More specifically, the suit alleges the filmmakers “omitted, distorted, and falsified material and significant facts in an effort to portray [Colburn] as a corrupt police officer who planted evidence to frame an innocent man.”
Between this lawsuit and diminishing returns from the recently released Making a Murderer 2, the series may prove more trouble for Netflix than it’s worth.