NEW YORK – The “Making a Murderer” filmmakers were in many ways in a race against the clock to make part two of their series, now available on Netflix.
“We were in post-production from day one,” said Moira Demos. “We were shooting and editing and shooting and editing and finding the story as we went.”
The first “Making a Murderer” recounted the story of Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, who were convicted in the 2005 slaying of Wisconsin photographer Teresa Halbach. Avery and Dassey are serving life sentences in the killing.
Filming for the second season stopped in July, and Demos and her co-director, Laura Ricciardi, only handed in the finished product to Netflix a few weeks ago.
Much of what viewers will see in this new season is Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, go over the entire case with a fine-tooth comb to piece together what may have happened to Halbach. She’s meticulous with details and has multiple experts test various theories.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the filmmakers talked about how they handled the attention on their work, criticism from some viewers and what they hope ultimately will come from the series.
AP: Was it hard to cover the continuation of this story, when “Making a Murderer” became a part of the story?
Demos: The attention on the case didn’t really affect our process because for part two, in a lot of ways, it’s the inverse of part one. We’re in the courtroom for four solid episodes of part one, and what’s going on in part two is these legal teams are fighting to just get into court. They would love to be in court to be arguing against the other side about the evidence but that’s not a guarantee. So there’s a lot of behind the scenes, there’s a lot of preparation, there’s a lot of investigation and a lot of that is happening on private property or our filming with the family is on private property, so you know we weren’t so much in the spotlight. We weren’t out in public.
AP: Season one made such an impact that Ken Kratz (the former district attorney of Calumet county, Wisconsin, who prosecuted Avery and Dassey) and others received death threats. What do you say to that?
Ricciardi: It’s obviously disappointing to hear negative or threatening or potentially violent reactions or responses that people had. ... Obviously, we have no control over how people respond. To the extent that we hoped viewers would be engaged and perhaps have a passionate response, we were hoping that that response would be good. So there are lots of people who now recognize that there are flaws in the system. There’s room for improvement, so it would be nice if we focused on potential reforms or just keeping the dialogue going.
AP: Some critics say that your narrative is one-sided and biased. What do you say to that?
Demos: Our point of view isn’t in the series. We have a collection of subjects and characters with all different points of view. ... It’s Steven Avery’s journey that we’re on. We’re documenting the subjective experience of Steven. (Note: At the end of each episode there is a card on the screen listing at least 70 people who didn’t respond or declined to be interviewed in the series. Those names include Halbach’s family members and Kratz.)