You guys, this is not a drill; Netflix's Making A Murderer Season 2 is officially a go. The 2015 docu-series, which recently earned nine Emmy nominations, followed the convictions of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, both of whom are serving time in prison for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, giving viewers a behind the scenes look at what the show depicted as a flawed legal system. According to Netflix's press release since Avery and Dassey are still currently serving time in jail, the new episodes will "offer exclusive access to Avery's new lawyer Kathleen Zellner and Dassey's legal team," which includes Laura Nirider. Now, of course, the question is, who is Laura Nirider?
While executive producers/directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos will return for Season 2, no word has been given on whether Avery's lawyers Dean Strang and Jerry Buting will return. For those who aren't familiar with the series, Making A Murderer appeared to make a case for claims that Avery was wrongfully convicted by the Manitowoc County police department in Wisconsin and additional claims that Dassey was coerced into confessing. Both of allegations have been denied by the County; Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Hermann even told The Wrap in January 2016 that, "We’re not pleased with the way the film has portrayed us."
Nirider's name should be familiar to those who watched last season. She pops up in Episode 10, the final one of the season, as Dassey's post-conviction lawyer. With her brief time onscreen, Nirider also earned some fans of her own by proving she was an advocate for the young man who so desperately needed one.
It's no real surprise that she would earn the affections of Making A Murderer fans since she's made a career out of fighting for those she believes aren't getting the justice they deserve. Nirider is not only clinical assistant professor of law at Chicago's Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, teaching a course called Clinic Practice: Wrongful Convictions and Juvenile Justice, but she's also the co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY).
At the CWCY, Nirider "investigates and litigates the credible innocence claims of wrongfully convicted youth." She helped in the 2011 release of the West Memphis Three, the three teens who were wrongfully convicted of murdering three young boys in Arkansas in 1993. The men were released after serving over 18 years in jail thanks to new forensic evidence. Nirider hopes to also help Dassey get released by proving that his confession was indeed coerced. As Nirider told Vogue earlier this year, "In the world of wrongful convictions, context is everything," adding, "One of the amazing things about Making a Murderer is it shows... this idea that somebody would falsely confess to a crime they didn’t commit isn’t so crazy after all.”
As a lawyer, Nirider's areas of expertise include juvenile justice, wrongful convictions, confessions, and police interrogations. Literally, she's co-written the book on juvenile interrogation protocol with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and it's one of the only reports of its kind. If that wasn't enough, there's an added bonus when it comes to Nirider that should make Netflix very happy. Thanks to her fields of expertise, she is no stranger to the camera and has been featured in film and television programs including the documentary, West Of Memphis, about the West Memphis Three case.
Nirider is definitely ready for her close up and ready for fans of Making A Murderer to take a closer look at Dassey's case. “There are a lot of cases where big movies are made or a big Dateline episode is aired, and suddenly people start questioning things that were supposed to be gospel truth before," Nirider told Vogue back in January. "The power of changing the context and the vibe really can’t be underestimated. Does it directly lead to court results? I don’t know. But is it invaluable? Yes.”