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'Making a Murderer': Pilot EW Review

EW: What makes a true-crime story “true”? Critics have been asking that question ever since the genre was reinvigorated by the hit podcast Serial and HBO’s docuseries The Jinx, two series that played with new forms of narrative nonfiction and broke some rules of objective reporting. In their first seasons, both series reopened cold cases, relying on cliff-hangers or stylized re-creations of traumatic events, often burying the lead for the sake of suspense. Both reflected the storytelling techniques of scripted drama more than the arc of real life, sparking debates about what’s good for justice versus what’s good for entertainment. Such arguments will no doubt be revived once true-crime fans have binged Netflix’s docuseries Making a Murderer (streaming now), which focuses on the strange case of Steven Avery, who spent 18 years in prison for rape before being freed by DNA evidence—only to become the prime suspect in a brutal murder. Judging by the first four episodes, though, it’s not...

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