Wednesday 7 December 2016

7 true-crime documentaries that will ease your Making A Murderer withdrawals

Sasha Brady

Published 05/01/2016 | 14:38

Serial
Serial

Missing Making A Murderer? Here are seven gripping true-crime documentaries to get you through January.

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The Jinx

This HBO mini-series is responsible for one of the most shocking finales in TV history. The story of eccentric real-estate heir Robert Durst is as gripping as it is eerie.

The six-part documentary will keep you guessing right up until the explosive 'hold-your-breath' moment at the end with its many twists, turns and dramatic revelations.

West of Memphis

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The story about three boys who were found murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas is a disturbing but gripping watch. Three local 'goth' teenagers were accused of sexually mutilating and murdering the boys with police claiming the gruesome act was part of a "satanic ritual".

The three-part documentary features interviews the families of the victims, the families of the accused, and the police. Ultimately, it investigates the motives and confessions at the heart of the case, along with the widespread public doubt as to the guilt of the West Memphis Three.

The Staircase

The documentary by award-winning filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade follows the trial of author Michael Peterson who was accused of murdering his wife Kathleen in 2001. The director was allowed to film what seems like every move of Peterson's lawyers, giving viewers access to crucial behind-the-scenes moments.

A New York Times review says: "The specific details are fascinating. But as a study of the evolution of a criminal defence, The Staircase is a masterpiece. The scenes of Mr. Peterson's lawyers circling warily around him, striving to anticipate and forestall the prosecution without ever once asking, "Did you kill her?" demonstrate exactly what's discomforting about American criminal justice."

Serial (Series 1)

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This podcast based on a real-life murder became a worldwide phenomenon in 2015. It re-investigates a 1999 murder in Baltimore of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. Lee was strangled and buried in a shallow grave in a local park. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was tried and convicted of the crime.

Journalist Sarah Koenig narrates the 12-part series, exploring the alibi, allegations, rumours and conviction of Syed. The podcast sparked a heated debate around the world and turned listeners into amateur sleuths as they speculated the mysteries surrounding the case.

The Thin Blue Line

This is the original investigative journalism documentary. It focuses on the 1976 shooting of police officer Robert W. Wood in Dallas, Texas. The authorities, of course, were quick to convict the person responsible but did they accuse the wrong man?

Errol Morris' 1988 documentary suggests five witnesses committed perjury and that the case suppressed key evidence in the trial of convicted Randall Adams, who spent 12 years in jail for the murder.

Capturing the Friedmans

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This documentary focuses on the 1980s investigation of well-to-do father and son, Arnold and Jesse Friedman, who were subjects of a federal sting operation when it was discovered that Arnold was receiving child pornography by mail. The film follows their story from the public's perspective and through unique real footage of the affluent family in crisis, shot inside the Friedman's New York home.

The hotly-debated documentary by filmmaker Andrew Jarecki (who's also responsible for The Jinx) won the Grand Jury prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival

Central Park Five

In 1989, five teenagers (four of whom were black and one Latino) were accused of the rape of a white, female jogger in New York's Central Park. The trial against the boys is set against a backdrop of heightened racial tensions in the multicultural city.

The film focuses on the disturbing, powerful impact that media can have on public perception and how it can influence mob mentality. The boys served between six and 13 years in prison before it was revealed that Matias Reyes, a convicted serial rapist then serving a life sentence for other crimes, confessed to committing the rape.

 

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