HolidayBuyer's Guide

Stephen Colbert asks 'Making a Murderer' filmmakers if Avery is guilty

On Tuesday's episode of "The Late Show," Colbert asks the creators what went into making the Netflix real-life crime drama, and why they made it in the first place.

Have you streamed Netflix's crime documentary "Making a Murderer" yet?

The series follows the cases of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, two Wisconsin men convicted of the 2005 murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. Avery was convicted of rape in a separate case in 1985, but DNA evidence exonerated him in 2003 after he served 18 years in prison.

Stephen Colbert sat down with the two filmmakers, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, to discuss the series on Tuesday's episode of "The Late Show." Ricciardi and Demos worked on the documentary over the course of 10 years, and it was released on Netflix as a 10-episode series on December 18.

When Colbert asked the filmmakers what the purpose of the documentary was, Demos said, "We like to say it's more of a 'howdunnit' [than a whodunnit]. What we were documenting was the process, you know, and that's what justice is -- it's a process. So can we rely on these verdicts?"


Colbert asked a juicy question: "Is [Avery] guilty or not? What do you think?" Ricciardi was quick to respond that she thinks the state didn't meet its burden in either case, and that based on that, the jury should have found him not guilty. Demos agreed.

The whole documentary is about tragedy -- the very real tragedy experienced by the family and friends of Teresa Halbach, and the potential tragedy of two men sitting behind bars for a crime they might not have committed. But Colbert, Ricciardi and Demos shared a hopeful message to come out of the film.

"Hopefully one positive outcome of this could be that more people take an interest in our criminal justice system," Colbert said. "Or maybe even more young people wanting to be defenders of people who get pulled into our justice system, because without proper representation, you just become a cog in the machine."

Ricciardi and Demos agreed.

Meanwhile, the case of Stephen Avery and Brendan Dassey continues. Avery filed another appeal on Tuesday, and has fresh new legal representation. Dassey's case is being argued in federal court by Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth.

It may be years until the families, and those who've seen "Making a Murderer" on Netflix, have closure in the case, and that's only if the courts decide to take on Avery and Dassey's appeals.