Long-form video-journalism made great strides into the justice system when investigative series like The Jinx from HBO caught the evidence that put away a murderer. Netflix’s 2015 documentary series Making A Murderer shook the foundation of an easy conviction. The Steven Avery saga will continue in the upcoming project Convicting A Murderer. Production is now underway on the 8-episode series, which is being directed by documentary filmmaker Shawn Rech.
Rech was granted exclusive, unprecedented access to District Attorney Ken Kratz, Lead Investigator Tom Fassbender, and other major players in State v. Avery. This is not Making a Murderer season 2. Convicting A Murderer will investigate the “controversial case built by the State of Wisconsin against Steven Avery for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, in which police were accused of tampering with crime scenes and planting evidence to manipulate the investigation and implicate Avery of the murder,” reads the official statement.
“When Making A Murderer was produced, many on the law enforcement side of the story could not, or would not, participate in the series, which resulted in a one-sided analysis of the case,” Rech said. “This docu-series will examine the case and the allegations of police wrongdoing from a broader perspective. It will also share with viewers the traumatic effects of being found guilty and vilified in the court of public opinion.”
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are currently serving life sentences.
Rech and Hale’s first film, IFC Films/Sundance Selects’ A Murder In The Park from 2014, presented evidence that led to the release of Alstory Simon, an innocent man wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a 1982 double homicide in Chicago. The film currently streams on Netflix.
Their upcoming film Wrong Cat helped overturn the longest wrongful incarceration in U.S. history. The story reaches back to the 1960s killings of Black Panthers by Chicago Police. Alleged cop-killer Cleve Heidelberg Heidelberg served 47 years before he was released last year.
Their new documentary White Boy cleared the way for Detroit’s infamous Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick”, to be paroled after serving 30 years of a life sentence for drug-trafficking as a minor in 1987. The film also exposed corruption in Detroit.
“We fight for the truth,” Rech said in a statement. “We’ll present all of the evidence in the Avery case from the perspective of both the prosecution and the defense and see if viewers feel the same way they did two years ago following the first season of Making A Murderer.”
Sony will release a feature film on Wershe’s life, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Matthew McConaughey, sometime this year. White Boy will be released exclusively on iTunes May 22.
Convicting a Murderer is being produced by Rech and Chicago Attorney Andrew Hale’s Cleveland-based Transition Studios. The project secured independent financing. Transition is currently shopping the series.