‘Making a Murderer’ documentary series depicts justice gone awry

By Frazier Moore, AP

NEW YORK — “Making a Murderer” is the latest series to demand you not just watch, but binge.

But since its Netflix debut on Dec. 18, it’s become even more encompassing: a Thing, a budding cultural phenomenon, whose subject is emerging as a painful cause celebre.

Few series pack a punch like this, and, further stoking your moral outrage, the tale this 10-hour docuseries tells is real.

“Making a Murderer” chronicles the hardship of Steven Avery, an otherwise obscure member of a salvage-yard family in Wisconsin’s rural Manitowoc County.

It begins in 2003 with video of Avery returning home after 18 years’ imprisonment for sexual assault, a crime of which he was belatedly exonerated thanks to DNA evidence proving him innocent.

A stubby overgrown elf with a bushy beard and a beaming smile, Avery, at 41, claims to have left any anger at this miscarriage of justice at the jailhouse door. Calling himself “the happiest man on Earth,” he now is eager to resume normal life.

If only.

Early buzz for this series has spiked into a roar. Online petitions have sprung to life on Avery’s behalf while passionate comments punctuate social media. A guessing game proposes who should play him in a feature film (among the candidates: Joshua Jackson and Zach Galifianakis). Even a “Making a Murderer” spoof by Seth Meyers kicked off Monday’s “Late Night.”

The less you know about Avery’s ordeal, the more you will be rocked by “Making a Murderer.” Suffice it to say, the series depicts a systemic vendetta waged against him by police and the courts. And it only heated up after his rape conviction was overturned.