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Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer titlecard.jpg
Genre Documentary
Written by Laura Ricciardi
Moira Demos
Directed by Laura Ricciardi
Moira Demos
Theme music composer Gustavo Santaolalla
Composer(s) Kevin Kiner
Jared Forman
Dean Kiner
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Laura Ricciardi
Moira Demos
Lisa Nishimura
Adam Del Deo
Location(s) Manitowoc County, Wisconsin
Cinematography Moira Demos
Iris Ng
Editor(s) Moira Demos
Mary Manhardt
Running time 47–66 minutes
Production company(s) Netflix
Synthesis Films
Distributor Netflix
Original network Netflix
Picture format Digital (HDTV)
Original release December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18) – present
External links

Making a Murderer is an American documentary television series that premiered on Netflix on December 18, 2015. The ten-episode first season, written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, explores the story of Steven Avery, a man from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, who served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being fully exonerated in 2003 by DNA evidence. He filed a suit against the county on this case. In 2005, Avery was arrested on charges of murdering Teresa Halbach, a local photographer, and was convicted in 2007. The series also covers the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was also charged in the murder, largely based on his confession under interrogation.

The series was filmed over the course of ten years, with the filmmakers moving back and forth from New York City to Wisconsin during filming. To promote the series, Netflix released the first episode concurrently on YouTube and on Netflix, which it had not done for any other original programming. In July 2016, Netflix announced that it was filming a second season, to explore the aftermath of Dassey's conviction and the numerous appeals that have taken place.

As a production, the series was favorably compared to the HBO series The Jinx and the podcast Serial.Making a Murderer was widely viewed and it has generated considerable controversy, both in Manitowoc County, the setting of events, and nationwide. A petition to the White House to pardon Avery garnered more than 500,000 signatures. President Barack Obama noted that he had no authority to act in a state case.

On August 12, 2016, Avery's nephew Brendan Dassey, who was also found guilty, had his conviction overturned by a federal judge on the grounds that he was unconstitutionally coerced by the police into confessing to the murder, and this was the only substantial evidence in his case. On November 14, 2016, Federal Judge William Duffin ordered Dassey's release from prison within 90 days, if Wisconsin prosecutors do not move forward with a retrial. On November 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit blocked Dassey's release while the appeal is being heard.

Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards
Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series Won
Outstanding Directing For Nonfiction Programming Laura Ricciardi
Moira Demos
Outstanding Picture Editing For Nonfiction Programming Moira Demos Won
Outstanding Sound Editing For Non Fiction Programming Daniel Ward
Leslie Bloome
Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming Leslie Shatz Nominated
Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming Laura Ricciardi
Moira Demos
2016 Webby Awards
Film & Video Breakout of the Year Won
21st Empire Awards
Best Documentary Nominated
32nd TCA Awards
Program of the Year Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming Won
2015 Dorian Awards
Documentary of the Year Nominated
20th Online Film & Television Association Awards
Best Reality or Non-Fiction Program Won
Best Writing of a Reality or Non-Fiction Program Won
Best Writing of a Reality or Non-Fiction Program Won
Best Direction of a Reality or Non-Fiction Program Nominated
Best Editing in a Non-Series Nominated
Best Direction of a Reality or Non-Fiction Program Nominated
Best Editing in a Non-Series Nominated
17th Annual Golden Tomato Awards
Best-Reviewed Documentary Series Won
28th Producers Guild of America Awards
Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television Won
No. Title Length (minutes) Original release date
1 "Eighteen Years Lost" 64:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
2 "Turning the Tables" 57:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
3 "Plight of the Accused" 63:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
4 "Indefensible" 66:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
5 "The Last Person to See Teresa Alive" 59:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
6 "Testing the Evidence" 59:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
7 "Framing Defense" 63:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
8 "The Great Burden" 47:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
9 "Lack of Humility" 66:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
10 "Fighting for Their Lives" 63:00 December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)

  • Steven Avery – Defendant, convicted of Halbach's killing. Wrongfully convicted of a sexual assault, for which he served an 18-year sentence
  • Allan Avery – Steven Avery's father
  • Dolores Avery – Steven Avery's mother
  • Chuck Avery – Steven Avery's brother
  • Brendan Dassey – Defendant, Avery's nephew, convicted of assisting Avery in Halbach's murder
  • Bobby Dassey – Brendan Dassey's brother
  • Barb Dassey – Steven Avery's sister, mother of Brendan and Bobby Dassey
  • Scott Tadych – married Barb Dassey (before the trials), stepfather of her children
  • Kayla Avery – Brendan's cousin
  • Kim Ducat – Steven's cousin
  • Carla Chase - Steven's niece, Brendan's cousin
  • Penny Beerntsen – Victim of a sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985 for which Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted
  • Teresa Halbach – Murder victim in 2005
  • Dean Strang – for Steven Avery
  • Jerome Buting – for Steven Avery
  • Robert Henak – post-conviction attorney for Steven Avery
  • Stephen Glynn – Civil rights lawyer for Steven Avery
  • Len Kachinsky – Brendan Dassey's first appointed lawyer
  • Mark Fremgen – for Brendan Dassey, appointed lawyer (second lawyer)
  • Ray Edelstein – for Brendan Dassey, appointed lawyer (second lawyer)
  • Steven Drizin – post-conviction attorney for Brendan Dassey
  • Robert Dvorak – post-conviction attorney for Brendan Dassey
  • Laura Nirider – post-conviction attorney for Brendan Dassey
  • Denis Vogel – Manitowoc County District Attorney, prosecuted Avery's 1985 sexual assault case
  • Ken Kratz – Special prosecutor, district attorney of Calumet County, Wisconsin, prosecuted Halbach murder case
  • Patrick Willis – Manitowoc County Circuit Court Judge, presided over Steven Avery's trial
  • Norm Gahn – Special prosecutor, assistant district attorney of Milwaukee County
  • Jerome Fox – Manitowoc County Circuit Court Judge, presided over Brendan Dassey's trial
  • Tom Kocourek – Manitowoc County Sheriff (1979–2001)
  • Kenneth Petersen – Manitowoc County Sheriff (2001–07)
  • Gene Kusche – Manitowoc County Chief Deputy Sheriff at time of Avery's 1985 trial
  • James Lenk – Lieutenant, Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department
  • Andrew Colborn – Sergeant, Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department
  • Judy Dvorak – Deputy, Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department
  • Tom Fassbender – Investigator, Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, lead investigator in Halbach murder trial
  • Mark Wiegert – Sergeant, Calumet County Sheriff's Department
  • Michael O'Kelly – investigator hired by Len Kachinsky


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