The decade's most triggering comedy
We are continuing our dive into my docuseries, “Convicting a Murderer,” and as I’ve heard from many viewers, episode 6 (which just came out last Thursday) is the episode that changed the game. This is the episode that reveals the true lengths the documentary makers of “Making a Murderer” went to in order to position Steven Avery as an innocent man. For people who have never watched the Netflix docuseries or haven’t kept up with “Convicting a Murderer,” this episode is the perfect time to join, and it makes clear how stories can be easily manipulated to create a desired narrative.
Detective Andrew Colborn endured an exorbitant amount of stress after the Netflix documentary premiered because people believed what they were watching was actual, chronological footage from the testimony. What they didn’t realize was that much of the footage of Colborn had been copied and pasted. Colborn ended up suing Netflix because of the false depiction of his testimony.
In “Making a Murderer,” Colborn’s body language comes across as suspicious when he testifies about his call to dispatch. But what viewers were not aware of was that some of Colborn’s reaction shots were from different parts of the trial. Three of them were taken about 45 minutes earlier in the trial. In one, he is just waiting for his first question.
He sits up later in that shot, and the documentary makers use it when Dean Strang, Avery’s attorney, says he is going to play the dispatch call.
It becomes their go-to shot of Colborn. They use it again less than a minute later, and then they use it a third time, again, out of place. What really happened before Strang played the call looks to me as though Colborn is just simply bored out of his mind.
When Strang poses the infamous integrity question, he asks, “This is the first time your integrity has been questioned?” Colborn’s actual reaction is what they use last when they ask about the license plate. Viewers were led to believe Colborn was lying because he looks uncomfortable as he sits, wringing his hands as though he’s been caught.
In actuality, the trial footage stays on Strang when he asks about the plate. The next time Colborn appears in the footage, he’s answering an altogether different question. Furthermore, Colborn’s testimony about the car as it was portrayed had been edited; viewers, again, did not realize this.
Avery’s defense attorneys ask Colborn about the dispatch call after finding the car: “Well, you can understand how someone listening to that might think that you were calling in a license plate that you were looking at on the back end of a 1999 Toyota.” His response in the docuseries is a nervous “yes.” But in real life, that question and answer exchange never happened. Attorney Kratz objected and that objection was sustained. Colborn’s “yes” was an answer to the exact opposite question: “This call sounded like hundreds of other license plates or registration checks you’ve done through dispatch before?” That is the question to which Colborn answered “yes.” The call was not suspicious. It was perfectly ordinary.
Obviously, the documentary makers seem to have manipulated the film to create a testimony that was not accurate, and it is important to ask why. If Colborn’s testimony is consistent with what they originally presented, why did they doctor it? Why did they want to manipulate their audience? It’s almost as though they needed to have a bad guy. But Colborn is not that guy. If they really thought Steven Avery was framed by the police, they wouldn’t have had to edit a testimony to show the truth.
There is no justification for that. It is utterly unethical. And we must keep asking questions.