HBO is premiering a new true crime documentary that will likely appeal to fans of the recently ended podcast Serial. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst is a six-part miniseries telling the story of Durst, an heir to a real estate fortune who has been accused of, but never convicted of, three different murders over the course of his life. The show explores those murders and the question as to Durst’s guilt. While some maintain that Durst was just very unlucky, some believe that his money has allowed him to literally get away with murder.
The show’s director Andrew Jarecki has been interested in Durst for some time. His first film, 2010’s mystery crime drama All Good Things, saw Ryan Gosling playing a character based on Durst and Kirsten Dunst playing his first wife who disappeared in 1982. Shortly before the movie came out, Jarecki says that Durst contacted him for an interview, which is where the beginnings of the documentary took root.
Speaking at the Winter TV Press Tour, Jarecki says that unlike Serial his show will lead viewers to a satisfying conclusion at its finale. “By the time you get to the end of this series, you won’t be scratching your head — you will have a clear view of what happened,” Jarecki said, per Deadline. That’s a pretty big claim to make, given that Durst’s wife Kathleen McCormack’s disappearance remains unsolved.
Many years later after her disappearance, in 2000, Durst’s long-time friend Susan Berman was found murdered execution-style in her home. Berman was believed to have information about the disappearance of McCormack, whose case had recently been reopened by the police. Durst was questioned about the murder but never charged, though if one believes he might’ve had something to do with McCormack’s disappearance then he clearly would have had a motive to keep Berman quiet at that moment in time. Then that same year Durst moved to Texas and was arrested after the body parts of his elderly neighbor were discovered floating in Galveston Bay. Durst admitted to killing and dismembering his neighbor and claimed self-defense, as well as using a diagnosis with Asperger syndrome to explain his behavior, and he was acquitted.
Jarecki noted that the true crime format has exploded in popularity recently. “I have enjoyed Serial,” he said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “I do think it’s a phenomenon that is sort of here.”
Serial was an extremely popular podcast that aired at the end of last year from NPR journalist Sarah Koenig. The podcast explored a homicide case from 1999 in which Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering his girlfriend. Syed has continuously claimed his innocence since he was sent to spend over half of his life in prison. In the podcast Koenig investigates the case and looks back at the evidence, trying to figure out whether Syed is guilty or innocent.
When asked further how The Jinx and Durst’s story will stand apart from all the other true crime content out there, Jarecki said “This is a story that has significance” because it “begins with enormous wealth and privilege,” per Deadline. Jarecki also said the fact that Durst is “extraordinary” will make The Jinx stand out from other true crime narratives.
The Jinx will air on HBO at 8 p.m. on Sundays starting February 8 and sounds like the perfect way for Serial fans to get more of their true crime fix.
Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS
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