“Murder is women’s business” – overheard at the venue.
Over the past few years, the true crime industry has boomed. Podcasts such as Casefile and Last Podcast on the Left have grown in popularity, and My Favourite Murder is consistently in iTunes’ Top 10 comedy podcasts, with over 19 million monthly downloads. Shows like Making a Murderer and The Staircase have become global sensations. Liking true crime has gone from being something you do on the downlow, an interest you have but don’t tell anyone about, to one that is spoken about regularly, between friends, colleagues and even strangers. And data shows these watchers and listeners are predominantly women (and this was even touched upon in the audience Q&A, asking why true crime seems to be so popular with female audiences).
Thursday night at the Enmore Theatre was no different, as the line for Inside Making a Murderer and The Staircase was made up mainly of groups of women – some wearing “Free Brendan Dassey” t-shirts. Inside, the blood red carpet, red chairs, and the stage bathed in red light made for an interesting motif.
Also somewhat interesting, the stars of the evening – attorneys Laura Nirider, Steven Drizin and David Rudolf – took to the stage to the tune of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.
Led by a somewhat awkward, and occasionally stumbling em-cee, whose voice cracked to the point that everyone in the crowd wanted to throw him a Strepsil, they launched straight into questions for the evening. While most were pre-planned, some questions came from the audience, courtesy of some pens and paper up the back of the room before the show. These were accompanied by two signs – “Ask your questions here” and “Don’t steal our pens, that would be criminal”.
Throughout the night, we learned about a number of issues surrounding the cases. We heard from Rudolf (The Staircase) about issues he had surrounding jury selection post-autopsy. We heard from Nirider and Drizin about how they got into their line of work, and how they began to represent Brendan Dassey (and the question on everyone’s minds – does Netflix pay them? The answer was no).
Really, the title of the night summed it up – Inside Making a Murder and The Staircase. There was a lot of information on how the television shows came to be, what went on behind the scenes of the shows, and what was allowed to be shown and what wasn’t. But there really wasn’t a lot of information on the cases themselves. Apart from some (understandably) nasty jabs at prosecutor Ken Kratz from Nirider and Drizin, and (also understandably) criticism from Rudolf about how the exhumation and subsequent autopsy of Elizabeth Ratliff was handled – there wasn’t really anything spoken about the cases that we didn’t already know. There was no down-low information, nothing sensational or controversial, and certainly no hints from anyone on stage as to whether they believe Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach.
Overall, the evening was an informative behind-the-scenes look at the making of the television shows. While it is a must-attend for any true crime fanatic, don’t expect to leave with any exclusive information regarding the cases themselves.