Making a killer boosted Netflix's true crime boom. In 2015, the documentary about Steven Avery, a man who was exonerated thanks to DNA tests only to be arrested for murder just a few years later, became a subject of much debate. It also attracted the attention of amateur detectives, reporters and, eventually, the lawyer Kathleen Zellner, who helped exonerate 19 convicted men.
But the story is not over yet. In Making a killerIn the second season, which premieres on Netflix on Friday, filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi follow Avery and his nephew and alleged conspirator, Brendan Dassey, through the appeals process. The duo spoke with TIME about how the second season handles criticism of the program in its initial presentation, how they handled the media frenzy surrounding the case and whether they think Avery is innocent.
How did you make the decision to do a second season?
Ricciardi: We knew at the end of part 1 that our viewers had questions. Approximately one month after the release of the first part, Kathleen Zellner took Steve's case. And we knew that Laura Nirider was already representing Brendan Dassey in the federal courts. So we had a series of key players for the new season.
Population: Part 1 was to document the experience of the accused. We are now documenting the experience of the convicts. We ask: & # 39;Will Steven and Brendan succeed in their efforts to return to court and have the opportunity to challenge their conviction? "
They criticized you for not devoting enough time to the murder victim, Teresa, in Part 1. The first episode of Part 2 is largely dedicated to her. Was it a conscious decision?
Ricciardi: It was the result of an opportunity that was presented. In both parts, we contacted everyone who had a direct connection to the case. In Part 2 we were very grateful that one of Teresa's friends from the university agreed to sit with us. He spoke very eloquently about how with this post-conviction process, which, by definition, drains things, the pain is still there.
In the new season, Steven Avery blames his old lawyers for not adequately defending him. Avery's new attorney, Kathleen Zellner, is exploring the appeal based on the ineffective assistance of a lawyer. Seeing Zellner prepare his case made him reconsider some of the decisions made by the former Avery lawyers?
Ricciardi: It is important to keep in mind that Kathleen is coming to the case as a lawyer after the conviction, so by definition, she is re-examining what happened before. Kathleen's strategy is also different from what the trial lawyers did in this case. She uses non-traditional methods. She is very practical. We see her doing things like going to Avery's salvage yard and a neighboring property and working directly with a series of well-established forensic experts.
Kathleen has had great success as a private attorney after the conviction. She knows what works for her. What it really reduces is whether or not she can satisfy the court that, if it had not been the performance of her predecessors, things could have been different.
Population: In a broader context, I think one of the really exciting things in Part 2 is not just that viewers offer this trip to a part of the really lesser known process, the post-conviction phase.
Making a killer made Steven Avery's case famous, and we see the consequences of that in Part 2. Steven's new girlfriend appears in Dr. Phil. The prosecutor of last season promotes his book on Data line. Did you ever feel that you were losing control of the story?
Population: Honestly, all of that became part of the story. In Part 1 we were very interested in this difference between the public and the private: what is said in the press conference, and that masks what really happened in the interrogation room or what is being discussed in the court ? All this is just another opportunity to explore these headline issues in the face of real life in the field.
Ricciardi: Because Steven is our protagonist, what happens with other characters is the most important with respect to his dramatic situation. Does it have an impact on the goal it pursues?
In many ways, Steven's case is an aberration. It is rare to be convicted of murder, and even more rare to bring a case of this kind to trial instead of pleading. And it is extremely rare to be represented by a famous lawyer. Do you think it says something bigger about the American criminal justice system?
Population: Certainly we do not consider this history as an aberration. One of the things that Part 2 offers is that this story leaves Wisconsin and enters the federal judicial system. Brendan's case goes to Chicago, he intends to go to Washington, D.C. This is not an anomaly.
I believe that the issues that history addresses, issues of responsibility, issues of transparency, go beyond this case, but also beyond the criminal justice system. This is what is happening in our institutions and our governments.
Do you think Steven Avery is innocent?
Ricciardi: That is not part of our process at all. It is not part of our history. It is not relevant to us.