Making a Murderer is an American documentary television series that had premiered on Netflix on December 18, 2015. The ten-episode first season explores the story of Steven Avery, a man from Wisconsin, who served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being fully exonerated in 2003. He filed a suit against the county on this case. In 2005, Avery was arrested on charges of murdering Teresa Halbach, a local photographer, and was convicted in 2007. The series also tells about the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was also charged in the murder.
The series was filmed over the course of ten years, with the filmmakers moving back and forth from New York City to Wisconsin during filming. To promote the series, Netflix released the first episode concurrently on Netflix, which it had not done for any other original programming. In July 2016, Netflix announced that it was filming a second season.
Making a Murderer was widely viewed and it has generated considerable controversy, both in Manitowoc County, the setting of events, and nationwide.
On August 12, 2016, Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, who was also found guilty, had his conviction overturned by a federal judge on the grounds that he was unconstitutionally coerced by the police into confessing to the murder, and this was the only substantial evidence in his case. On November 14, 2016, Federal Judge William Duffin ordered Dassey’s release from prison within 90 days, if Wisconsin prosecutors do not move forward with a retrial.