The murder trials that have captivated America for the past ten weeks may have a few more scenes up their sleeves.
This past Thursday, Making a Murderer directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos discussed that they have the beginnings of a plan to create a second installment of their hit crime show at a “Stranger than Fiction” panel in New York, according to Variety. The pair of up and coming filmmakers announced that they have actually been conducting conversations with their subject Stephen Avery’s new defense attorney, Kathleen Zellner. Their goal, said Demos and Ricciardi, is to continue the story along with Avery’s second trial in which he was accused of murdering his nephew, Brandon Dassey.
Their reasoning for wanting to continue despite the fragile vulnerability of this exposed-nerve trial is to display to the American public, who caught the Making a Murderer fever across the nation when it debuted in December, what’s going on now with the most famous defendant in the country.
The directors went on to claim their responsibility as documentary filmmakers.
“From our perspective this story is obviously not over,” Ricciardi said. “It’s real life and (Avery’s and Brendan Dassey’s) cases are both still pending. We have no idea when the magistrate will make a decision in Brendan’s case. We do know that two potential outcomes are that the judge could order Brendan’s release or he could order a new trial. So we are on the edge of seats about that. To the extent that there are significant developments, we would like to continue documenting this (case).”
A second season of the true-life crime drama might be exactly what Americans are thirsting for. Originally, Making a Murderer made a fairly quiet debut on Netflix; only about 565,000 viewers chose to watch it when it appeared on December 18th, according to a media ratings sample conducted by Symphony Advanced Media.
In a week, that minuscule number vaulted to 2.3 million individual viewers, and in two weeks, it more than doubled–possibly due to a combination of growing hype and post-Christmas lull. By the end of January, the series accumulated nearly 20 million viewers and sparked numerous controversies, headlines, and a national debate over the legality of the American justice system in regards to Avery’s apparent false imprisonment. A petition was even written up and sent in to Governor Scott Walker of Ohio to pardon Avery, though it was denied.
With all of the abounding attention surrounding Making a Murderer, it only seems clear that it wouldn’t have been long before the directors wanted to keep going with the story. However, the two may run into some complications. After all, felony trials–especially ones involving complicated murder–are the exact kind of subject that try to repel as many outside influences as possible.
Ricciardi and Demos are also feeling unwanted pressures as well. The two said in their interview to Variety that since the release of their documentary, their entire portfolio of work has been scrutinized by the outside public. Both have decided, however, not to allow any of it to stop them.
“…we are grateful that people have watched and engaged with the series because we made it to promote a dialogue,” said Ricciardi. “I can’t keep up with all the headlines and the tweets and I certainly can’t engage with all of it. The series has in many ways taken on a life of its own.”