Making a Murderer is creating massive buzz across the world. It seems that the only thing many viewers want more than for Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey (also convicted of murder) to be released, is for the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department to be punished for allegedly framing Avery for Teresa Halbach's murder, per Avery's claims. (These are claims that then-Undersheriff and now current Sheriff Robert Hermann denied in the documentary. "[Framing him is] not realistic. It's impossible ... it's so far fetched it's impractical," he said.) While some people behind the series, including Avery's former lawyers, have come out in support of the series, the head of the Manitowoc Sheriff's Department said he hasn't even seen the series according to an interview with The Post-Crescent in December 2015 — but that hasn't stopped him from giving statements on the series' quality.
First a little background: Avery was convicted of rape in 1985 and spent 18 years in prison before DNA evidence exonerated him in 2003. Then, in 2005, he was arrested in connection with Halbach's death. In 2007, he was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison. Avery maintains his innocence and continues to claim that the Sheriff's department set him up despite their denial.
In the December Post-Crescent interview Sheriff Hermann said that he "won’t call [Making a Murderer] a documentary, because a documentary puts things in chronological order and tells the story as it is," he said. "I’ve heard things are skewed." It's important to note that Hermann has "heard" things are skewed, because he hasn't actually seen the series that calls into question the alleged actions of his department.
Hermann also claimed in the interview, "[The filmmakers have] taken things out of context and taken them out of the order in which they occurred, which can lead people to a different opinion or conclusion." In a separate interview with Vulture before the series came out, the filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi spoke about Making a Murderer and their role in creating it.
"The intention was to offer viewers a complete understanding of the past. It's easy to look back on a case and unpack with 20-20 hindsight," said Demos. "But that raises the question, can we recognize when things go astray right in front of our eyes, rather than recognizing it always after the fact?" Ricciardi agreed, and said, "From the research we did, through the final edit, in terms of the material to work with, it was almost an embarrassment of riches. There was no need to have to actually construct anything."
Sheriff Hermann has been part of the department since 1985 — the same year Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape. He told the Post-Crescent he's extremely confident in the arrest and incarceration of Avery for Halbach's murder, despite Avery maintaining his innocence a decade later. Hermann said to The Post-Crescent, "I don’t know why anybody in law enforcement would want to get [Avery], that makes no sense." (Avery claimed in the documentary that he was framed because he was suing the department for $36 million over his wrongful rape conviction.)
Hermann, who the paper reported "hasn't seen the series but has been discussing it with the department," reminded people to "keep an open mind about what they see in the movies, because that’s what this is, a movie."
In another interview with Centre Daily Times, Hermann said his office has gotten "hundreds of voicemails and dozens of emails from around the world." Bustle also reached out to his office for comment, but has yet to hear back. Still, the public interest in the case and the show has only made Hermann want to avoid seeing the docuseries. The Centre Daily Times reported that Hermann said "he was originally planning to watch," but changed his mind after the many calls reportedly "convinced him it's likely very one-sided."
We'll have to wait and see if he stands by that opinion if he ever gets around to watching it.
Images: Netflix (2)