“Unmasking Murder” is being shopped to TV and digital buyers as an eight-part documentary series following investigators as they dig in to longtime cold cases and a few contemporary homicides. The series would follow a handful of investigations per season, focusing on the legwork and day-to-day work of CIR investigative reporters.
Berlinger is known for the “Paradise Lost” trilogy of HBO documentaries that helped drive the legal reversal of fortune for the three men in the West Memphis Three murder case being released from prison after serving 18 years. His other documentary films include “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” (2004) and Netflix’s “Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru” (2016).
“The hook for me for this show was being able to observe and follow these veteran reporters who have done so much amazing work in this space,” Berlinger tells Variety. “We follow them doing their thing as a way of uncovering the truth.”
Based in California’s Bay Area, CIR is a nonprofit investigative journalism organization that has pursued aspects of the cases under consideration for “Unmasking Murder” for years. The organization works with a diverse team of reporters gathered from around the country.
“We’re starting from an amazing place because we’ve already got our hands on exclusive evidence no one has ever seen before. We have a lot of new leads and new evidence that the way these cases have been portrayed is inaccurate,” said Amanda Pike, director and executive producer of CIR’s documentary film unit.
Keshet Studios initiated the project and brought it to CIR and then Berlinger as it looked for material in the red-hot true crime genre.
“CIR is doing great journalism at a time when journalism itself is under attack,” said Patty Suh, Keshet Studios’ VP of development. “We are proud to be shining a light on the great work they’re doing.”
(Pictured: Joe Berlinger)