Nancy Grace Declares War On ‘Making a Murderer’

Nancy Grace is angry – or make that angrier than usual – over “Making a Murderer,” the 10-part Netflix documentary series, which left a clear impression that Steven Avery had possibly been wrongly convicted of murder, with an assist from local media and crime-oriented talking heads, none more so than Grace. So the HLN host is exacting vengeance as only she can, on Thursday by airing a special devoted to the case, “Caught On Tape: Steven Avery Guilty?,” following her appearance pushing the same theme on sister network CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Grace promised that she would deliver “an avalanche of evidence” pointing toward Avery’s guilt, while dismissing “Making a Murderer” as a “so-called documentary aimed at setting a killer free.” Yet the avalanche turned out to be more like a sprinkling of pebbles, peppered with the host’s unique blend of righteous indignation and pained disbelief.

The question of potential bias within “Making a Murderer,” of the filmmakers leaving out details to build a compelling narrative, is always a legitimate concern. But Grace didn’t do much to discredit the 10-hour production, beyond sneering at it, in an amateurishly produced hour that felt slapped together, the main anchors of the program being interviews with former Avery fiancée Jodi Stachowski and “Blue Bloods” star Donnie Wahlberg, without mentioning that the latter was on, presumably, because he had written an op-ed piece about the case.

While it was notable, certainly, that Stachowski expressed her belief that Avery is guilty and called him “a monster,” that wasn’t direct evidence in terms of the actual crime. And including Wahlberg felt odd, to say the least, given how quick Grace was to dismiss those “in Hollywood” who, having watched “Making a Murderer,” have rallied to Avery’s cause.

As for the “Caught on Tape” part of the title, that essentially involved video of Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, outlining the particulars of the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach. The presentation of those few minutes, however, felt overwhelmed – for anyone who has watched “Making a Murderer” in its entirety – by the Netflix documentary’s extended interrogation footage of Dassey, who appeared to be both mentally challenged and cajoled into providing information with considerable prodding from investigators.

So while there’s room for skepticism about what “Making a Murderer” filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi might have left on the cutting-room floor – and some have been too quick to proclaim Avery’s innocence – such criticism pales next to the hacky piece of work that Grace and company delivered on Thursday night.

Grace opened the special by saying, “The controversy boils over,” referring to the petitions pressing to reopen Avery’s case by people outraged after viewing the Netflix program. Yet she could just as easily have been describing her own demeanor, which has turned operating at a high boil into a cottage industry.

Whatever the merits of the second Avery conviction, this much seems unavoidable: Having cashed in by covering the story in the past, Grace is grabbing onto “Making a Murderer’s” coattails, just as others – such as Investigation Discovery, which has announced its own special – are joining in to pick at the bones.

From that perspective, Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” got it right: “Kick ‘em when they’re up. Kick ‘em when they’re down.”

More TV

  • Love Island - Pictured: Kyra Green,

    Profits and Revenues Slide, but Are ‘Better Than Expected,’ Says ITV

    ITV revenues and profits were in negative territory in the first half of the year, but CEO Carolyn McCall said the results were better than expected. The boss of Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster had previously said 2019 was partly about mitigating losses for the company, as major advertisers brace for Brexit. “The economic and political environment [...]

  • Harley Quinn DC Universe

    4 Things We Learned at TCA 2019: Day 1

    The 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour kicked off on Tuesday with presentations from DC Universe, A+E Networks, and Nat Geo. DC Universe, the DC-branded streaming service, brought their adult animated series based on “Harley Quinn,” while A+E brought along a range of projects from across their portfolio. It was also announced that A+E [...]

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops 'The Boys' Final Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, USA releases the trailer for the second season of “The Purge” and Amazon drops the final trailer before “The Boys” launches.  RENEWALS Viceland has renewed the pro wrestling docu-series “Dark Side of the Ring” for a second season. The upcoming season will feature 10 hour-long episodes chronicling the lives of wrestlers inside [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA West Unveils Candidates for Election That Reflects Discord Over Agency Campaign

    The WGA West has unveiled the slate of candidates for officer posts and board seats in the election that reflects the divisions among members over the guild’s handling of the campaign to reform its rules governing talent agents. Scribes Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) and William Schmidt (“Yellowstone”) are set to challenge David Goodman for the president’s [...]

  • The Code CBS

    'The Code' Canceled After One Season on CBS

    Freshman military drama “The Code” is officially done at CBS. The news comes just one day after the show’s season finale, which will now serve as the show’s series finale. “Thank you to all you wonderful people who watched [‘The Code’],” series star Dana Delany wrote on Twitter. “Last night was our finale and sadly, [...]

  • Matt Tolmach'Venom' film premiere, Arrivals, Los

    Amazon to Develop Human IPO Series With Matt Tolmach Producing

    Amazon is developing a series inspired by the true story of a man who sold shares of himself to investors, Variety has learned. In a competitive situation, Amazon has landed the project, titled “JNNA.” It is described as a half-hour comedy about the next big investment craze — humans. It is inspired by Mike Merrill, [...]

  • Olympics

    NBCUniversal Projects More Than $1.2 Billion in Ad Sales for 2020 Olympics

    NBCUniversal projected it would sell more than $1.2 billion in advertising for its 17 days of broadcasts of the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo, citing the event as a rare opportunity for Madison Avenue to reach big audiences without the worry of politics getting in the way of a commercial message. The Olympics is “one of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content