'Making A Murderer' Filmmakers Respond To Critics: "Of Course We Left Out Evidence"
While we don't know how accused killer Steven Avery's real life story will unfold, there is already talk of a possible Season 2 of Netflix's documentary series Making a Murderer . On Sunday, Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said of the possibility of Making a Murderer Season 2: "The story is still unfolding, so we’ll certainly take a look at it." But during Sunday's Television Critics Association panel, the conversation shifted. The filmmakers behind the series, Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, opened up about those criticizing the legitimacy of their ten episode documentary series. Specifically, the two women spoke about the claims that they left out evidence.
"Of course we left out evidence," Ricciardi said. "We aren't putting on a trial but a film. We're documentary filmmakers. We're not prosecutors. We set out to examine the criminal justice system and how it's functioning today. It would have been impossible for us to include every piece of evidence that was submitted to the court. We took our cues from the prosecutions — that's what we included." Ricciardi also noted that the prosecutors in Avery's case declined "multiple times" to appear in the documentary.
Ricciardi's partner on the project urges viewers to do their own investigating. "I would challenge people to do some research and see what's presented as truth," Demos said of any news claims that question the validity of the doc. "We knew this was a controversial project. It's not surprising that it gets people riled up. The documentary has a lot of things that are presented as facts, and then you hear counter arguments. What we found was that most questions actually just lead to bigger questions."
Recently, Avery's ex-fiance Jodi Stachowski called Avery a "monster," and claimed that he abused her when they were together. "I can't say why Jody is saying what she is to the media today. When we filmed with her nine years ago this is what she was saying to us," Demos said. "We have no knowledge of domestic abuse," Ricciardi adds.
After spending ten years making the documentary, have the filmmakers formed their own judgments on Avery's potential innocence? And is their documentary arguing a particular point of view? "We are not taking sides. If anything, this is a social justice documentary. We don't have a stake in [Avery's] character or his innocence or his guilt," Demos said.
"We chose Steven Avery to be our main subject. We chose him because of his unique status as an American citizen who had been failed by the system. What we set out to do was a check-up on the American criminal justice system. We never intended to be a part of the process. We never injected ourselves in the process. The media is demonizing this man to prove his guilt. We showed Steven Avery — warts and all," Riccardi added.
Oddly, the subject of the documentary himself, Steven Avery, hasn't seen the Netflix series. "He asked the warden and his social worker whether he would be able to see it, and his request was denied," Ricciardi said. Demos added, "I know Steven Avery now has a new attorney. He has the support of his family. He told us when he spoke to him he's been getting letters of support."
While it may be awhile before we know if Making A Murderer will be getting a second season — the series took ten years to make, after all — Ricciardi and Demos kept our hopes up. The women said that they are open to a sequel, but are also looking into other subjects to center a documentary on.
Making A Murderer is streaming on Netflix now.
Images: Netflix (3)