Skip to main content

Netflix hit 'Making a Murderer' questions Wisconsin convict's guilt


A 10-episode Netflix documentary series has a lot of people interested in a convicted murderer from Wisconsin.

"Making a Murderer" details the case of Steven Avery – a man who was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the 2005 murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach.

The series, which debuted Dec. 18 and quickly became a hit (watch the first episode on YouTube), goes over Avery's 2007 trial and questions the circumstances that led to his arrest and conviction. It suggests Avery was framed by law enforcement in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, and that his nephew Brendan Dassey – who was also convicted in connection with the crime – was manipulated by his defense team into confessing.

Avery's case garnered a lot of attention when he was arrested for Halbach's murder – he had recently filed a $36 million civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County for wrongful conviction. In 2003, Avery was exonerated after spending 18 years behind bars for a sexual assault he didn't commit, according to the Innocence Project, which worked on Avery's previous case.

That case led Wisconsin state legislators to pass the Avery Bill to prevent wrongful convictions. It was signed into law days before Avery was arrested for Halbach's murder. (The bill was renamed out of respect for Halbach's family.)

Reactions to the series

"Making a Murderer" is getting mostly positive reviews from news outlets, the Journal Sentinel reported, but the people involved in prosecuting Avery can't say the same.

Many viewers have taken to social media to share their outrage over the way the criminal justice system handled Avery's case, which has led to online petitions to free him and assistance from the hacker group Anonymous, which claims it will release documents in connection with the case, Business Insider says

District Attorney Ken Kratz, who prosecuted Avery, has even received death threats, according to FOX 11, and viewers have been leaving critical Yelp reviews for him. (There's even a warning when you go to Kratz's Yelp page stating the website is working to clean up reviews that appear to be motivated by news coverage, rather than a person's consumer experience with the business.)

Kratz has said filmmakers didn't give him a chance to respond to questions raised about him in the series, FOX 11 said, although producers dispute that.

Others have pointed out the series is rather one-sided, with Michael Griesbach, an assistant prosecutor in Manitowoc County who wasn't involved in either of Avery's cases, telling the Journal Sentinel the series raises a lot of good questions – but from the defense perspective.

The Innocence Project addressed the Netflix series and Avery's case on its website, saying "Making a Murderer" is helping "shine a spotlight on some of the problems that plague the criminal justice system, like false confessions and government misconduct."

The organization notes a member of the Innocent Network is looking into some aspects of Avery's case.

Avery and his nephew have both lost state appeals to reverse their convictions. The Chicago Tribune looks at where their cases stand – and what options they have left.

Next Up


LUSH in Minneapolis to reopen under new ownership in December

FOX 9's Jason Matheson and two popular performers are among the new owners of the revived bar and restaurant.

unsplash roller blade close

Lace up: Indoor skating returns to US Bank Stadium this winter

The venue announced 13 Winter Warm-Up dates for both skaters and runners.


More than 1,500 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in MN

Minnesota's hospital systems continue to be under tremendous strain.

state patrol

3 killed in trio of crashes in Minnesota on Monday

The crashes happened in St. Louis, Winona and Carver counties.


Foo Fighters reveal 2022 Twin Cities tour stop

The show will require proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test.

MSP airport

Police investigating after large fight caught on video at MSP Airport

People threw punches, broke chairs and tossed stanchions during the incident.

Hennepin County Government Center

Driver who killed innocent man, dog while drag racing is sentenced

The victim and his dog were struck while trying to cross the street.


Shake Shack's first drive-through to open in Maple Grove next week

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Shake Shack to become more accessible.

kimberly potter

Brooklyn Center increases communication ahead of Potter's trial

The former officer is charged in the death of Daunte Wright. Her trial begins Tuesday with jury selection.


Reports: Gophers won't retain offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr.

Minnesota's passing attack hasn't been the same under Sanford Jr.

940 Margaret St, St Paul, MN 55106, United States - May 2019 (1)

4-year-old girl struck by hit-and-run driver in St. Paul

The girl was struck by the driver around 5 p.m. Monday.


'Making a Murderer' takes home 4 Emmy awards

The series won for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series; Outstanding Directing for a Nonfiction Program; and Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program, It also won an Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program.