Making a Murderer returns this Friday 19th October, almost three years after the Netflix documentary made the story of Steven Avery’s conviction a worldwide sensation.
While Part Two in many ways is very similar to the original series, following Avery and Brendan Dassey’s lawyers as they attempt to exonerate their clients, the filmmakers have made one notable change this season.
At the end of each episode, before the credits roll, a list appears detailing all the people who “did not respond to or declined the invitation to participate in the series”.
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There are 79 names on the list, from family and friends of murder victim Teresa Halbach to former district attorney Ken Kratz, the man who prosecuted Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the murder of Halbach.
Other names include Mark Wiegert and Tom Fassbender, the investigators who secured the confession from Dassey which proved so controversial in the original run of episodes.
Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, the creators of Making a Murderer, chose to include the list in part as a response to criticisms of season one, including claims that the Netflix documentary had not included enough arguments or contributors that spoke against Avery and Dassey.
“We just thought it would be efficient and hopefully effective to be explicit,” Laura Ricciardi told RadioTimes.com. “We were trying to include a range of voices, and [wanted] to dispel any myths about that.”
Moira Demos added, “As storytellers of course we believe that the more voices you have the richer the material.
“Our criteria for who we invite are people who’ve had first hand experience in this particular story. We’re not going to an outside expert to talk about the American criminal justice system or whatever. It’s people who are directly affected or who are directly working in the case in some way,” she explained.
Regarding the list of people who did not wish to participate, Demos said, “It would have been more or less the same list of people at the end of season one. We just sort of naively thought that people would understand our process, and understand that of course we’d invited everyone. But you cannot control people’s decisions, and we respect people’s decisions [not to participate].”
The filmmakers explained that when they were faced with somebody who did not wish to contribute, they would attempt to find other ways of portraying their knowledge or point of view.
“When you know person A or person B is not going to participate, can you find other footage of them?” Demos said. “Can we find a way to represent their point of view? As dramatic storytellers, drama comes from conflict: you need two sides, you need strong opposition, and so we’re constantly looking for that.”
However, while they respected the decisions of those who did not wish to participate, Ricciardi and Demos still feel there were some key figures who would have added to the series.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that the most powerful person in the courtroom is the judge,” Ricciardi said. “I think there were ethical bars to judges sitting down with us, but it would be fascinating to talk to Steven’s trial judge, Judge Willis, or Judge Fox, who was Brendan’s trial judge.”
Judge Patrick Willis and Judge Jerome Fox feature in courtroom footage throughout Making a Murderer, but are not interviewed by the filmmakers.
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Part Two will see Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey’s cases brought before a federal court as part of the postconviction appeals process, and during that process too Ricciardi said she would have liked to discuss the verdicts with the people who made them.
“We’ll get to federal court later in the series, and I would love to sit down with those federal judges. But I don’t think that’s possible.”
Making a Murderer Part Two is released on Friday 19th October 2018