I’m always embarrassed when people ask me if I watch any reality shows. I’m not embarrassed because I do watch them. Rather, it’s because I don’t.
What about any of the “Real Housewives? New Jersey or Orange County?” Nope.
Not even “The Bachelor?” No.
If you give me a drink or two, I’ll admit to watching “Say Yes To The Dress” or an occasional “Kardashian,” but ONLY when I’m on the treadmill.
Recently, a friend called me and told me I HAD to watch “Making A Murderer” on Netflix. I had just finished Season 2 of “The Affair” on Showtime, and I was in the market for a new show. I knew that “Murderer” was a real, true story, but I justified turning it on because it was a documentary.
“Don’t you love it?” people asked, when they heard I had started watching it.
“Isn’t it amazing?” they said.
Once again, I have to go against the grain and “out” my uncool self. I did finish it. But I certainly didn’t like it. Not because it was boring (although, after 10 episodes, if I had to hear “yep” or watch long, meaningful shots of a junkyard full of cars one more time, I would have gone insane.) Not because it wasn’t an interesting story. It was a fascinating, infuriating, horrifying story.
The real problem that I had with the show is that it is not a new story for me. In fact, I have heard this story hundreds of times before. Not the Steven Avery one, of course, as that was truly a unique story.
But a story about an insanely corrupt criminal justice department? A story about the complete failure of our courts and jury system? A story about police officers and prosecutors more hell-bent on winning cases than providing any actual justice? An innocent person sent to prison because of stereotypes and bias towards a particular familial association or background?
Heard it. Seen it. Over and over again.
When you practice criminal defense law for over a decade, you have seen this story way too many times. You hear this story from coworkers and friends. You watch this story play out right in front of you every single day.
It’s heartbreaking, frustrating, and infuriating.
I’m glad this issue is being discussed in our country. I hope that it will make people so angry that they will demand answers. I pray that it will change the way all of our criminal cases are handled.
But just like any fad, I worry about its longevity. I fear that this is only the topic de jour until a new one appears. I am scared that one day, people will completely forget about this story. And then all of the discussions and passion and anger will simply fade away, leaving the criminal justice system in the exact same position it has always been.
So, it’s not that I didn’t like the show. I did.
I just didn’t enjoy it.