TV Review: ‘Making a Murderer’ Revisited by ID’s ‘Steven Avery: Innocent or Guilty?’

'Front Page With Keith Morrison: Steven
Courtesy of Netflix

Investigation Discovery is nothing if not opportunistic, distilling the 10 hours that Netflix devoted to “Making a Murderer” into a one-hour edition of “Front Page With Keith Morrison,” subtitled “Steven Avery: Innocent or Guilty?” While a big step up from Nancy Grace’s incoherent, foaming-at-the-mouth HLN special, the documentary covers a lot of ground without bringing much new to the story, other than unleashing “Dateline NBC’s” Morrison on it, and the ghoulish demeanor that has made his true-crime reporting so ripe for satire.

Aside from recapping Avery’s tale – how he was exonerated on rape charges after 18 years in jail, and subsequently convicted of a brutal murder – the hour basically boils down to a back and forth between two attorneys involved in the second trial: prosecutor Ken Kratz (who declined to participate in “Making a Murderer,” but has been defending himself elsewhere since its December debut), and Avery defense lawyer Jerry Buting. (Notably, both are also featured in “Dateline NBC’s” separate take on the case, “The State of Wisconsin Vs. Steven A. Avery,” which features interviews with many of the same people and is scheduled for Jan. 29.)

In perhaps the newsiest part of the ID special, the last third or so delves into the aftermath of Netflix’s series, with Kratz outlining what he considered oversights and omissions that tip the scales toward a misperception that Avery was railroaded. Buting, for his part, pretty effortlessly refutes most of those, and also discusses who might have killed photographer Teresa Halbach if Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, didn’t.

Still, at the risk of spoiling things – or merely sparing those who might be expecting an answer to the subtitle’s question in an hour’s time – it’s unlikely anyone who has watched “Making a Murderer” will extract much that’s fresh or opinion-changing here. And while the hour is even-handed, its central conclusion boils down to Buting’s observation that with Avery getting a new lawyer, there is surely more to come.

Of course, the whole point of these programs from NBC News’ Peacock Prods. – a genre which ID has dubbed “instamentaries,” thanks to their ability to respond quickly to a story making headlines – is to get there fast and first, way before something like “Law & Order” can. And in that respect, it’s hard to think of anything more ripe for further analysis than the Avery case, which has become a near-obsession for many who raced through it.

What ID has delivered, though, is, in literary terms, the abridged version of “Making a Murderer,” with a brief epilogue tacked on. And if the original contained the twists and turns often associated with a great novel, then think of this as either a public service for those who don’t have the time or inclination to read it or, less charitably, “Making a Murderer” for Dummies.

TV Review: 'Making a Murderer' Revisited by ID's 'Steven Avery: Innocent or Guilty?'

(Special; Investigation Discovery, Sat. Jan. 30, 9 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Peacock Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Elizabeth Fischer, Knute Walker, Diana Sperrazza. 60 MIN.

Cast

Host: Keith Morrison

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  1. fds says:

    you are able to constantly tell the top quality of USB cables by hunting in the thickness of the cable. thicker usb cables have greater quality`

  2. Bruce says:

    There are far too many flaws to convict Steven. Blood on the dash of the RAv4 but no fingerprints indicates a plant. No blood or any DNA in Steven’s house or garage yet this is where the alleged murder took place. The key showing up suddenly in Steven’s house when it had been searched several times earlier. The unexplained room on Teresa’s phone when earlier the in-box was full. What was removed? There were several other inconsistencies. Shame on the jurors who caved and voted guilty.
    All evidence points to police tampering by planting evidence. As to who killed Teresa, it is only speculation but 2 police officers highly suspicious. Thank goodness I live in Canada.

    • David says:

      Bruce, to add to your comments, they said there was blood from Teresa in the back of her vehicle. Why is that? Because she was killed somewhere else and moved. The problem with that is the prosecution said she was stabbed in the house and shot in the garage. That to me screams setup.

  3. marilyn says:

    Why wasn’t evidence presented on dateline about the fact that Steve made numerous calls to Teresa to lure her back to his property and that she complained to her boss that she was afraid of Avery and thought he was creepy because he answered her at his door with just a towel on?

    • donna says:

      Marilyn, first, this was just a boiled down version of the Netflix series.

      Also, I don’t know if this was Teresa’s boss, but someone who worked at the same place as Teresa said she had mentioned phone calls she was getting but she didn’t tell him who it was. He offered help but she said she could handle it. I don’t know if that was Steven.

      Also, what do you mean Steven made numerous calls to Teresa to lure her BACK to his property? There was a message on Steven’s machine from Teresa, wanting him to return her call to decide on a time for her to come or to verify their app’t. In fact, I think there were two calls.

      I would like to know why Teresa’s brother and/or ex-boyfriend erased her phone messages – or at least some of them. It made no sense since they were already worried about her. Frankly, there’s something about the brother that really bothers me. I don’t think he always acted appropriately – smiling at strange times, etc.

  4. russell802208 says:

    Lots of new articles but no new information.
    Seen the name Nancy grace in the article and lost some of my lunch.

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