By Liz Ciocher
For Netflix, the concept of a docuseries is very successful and popular. The streaming service has released short series’ of documentaries about various court cases and other true crime mysteries, including the case of the Murdaugh Murders.
One of the most dramatic and messy cases to be examined this year will be the charges Alex Murdaugh of North Carolina will be facing for his alleged involvement in the deaths of his wife and son.
On Feb. 23, Netflix released a three episode docuseries called “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal,” covering the past history of Alex Murdaugh and his family.
With each episode lasting less than an hour of duration, the series was one of the easiest documentaries for me to binge watch. It was paced just right that there weren’t any unnecessary details to weigh down the show, but it also managed to not rush through anything.
The first episode told the story of Mallory Beach, a teenager who died in a tragic boating accident at the hands of Alex Murdaugh’s son, Paul. At first, it is unclear why so much of the episode is given to this girl, as the title implies the show will be about the death of a Murdaugh. But, as the program continues, it becomes very apparent.
As the next two episodes play out, everything starts to unravel. The death of Beach was very tragic, and the producers of the show got a lot of heart-wrenching comments from her friends and family, making it a very emotional watch. The show then did a very nice job of smoothly transitioning from the story of the young girl’s death to how the Murdaugh family handled the situation, providing serious insight to the family.
In the first episode, there is a lot of different information being withheld from the audience. It is not discussed who else will be murdered following this incident with Beach, but there is a quote from the narrator that says, “Five bodies are connected to this family in less than a decade.” Immediately, I knew I would have to watch the series until the very end.
In the second episode, we hear from most of the same commentators as we did in the first — family and friends involved in the boating accident. More commentators then join in as we learn about the death of a housekeeper and a classmate.
The third episode discusses the deaths of Paul and Maggie and the complicated circumstances surrounding them. It divulges into the arrest of Alex Murdaugh, the opinions of the associated families from earlier and commentary from various lawyers involved in the case.
Once their shootings are covered in the third episode, the series has already painted the family in a certain light because of everything they had gotten away with prior to their deaths. That was my only complaint about the docuseries’ setup — I don’t believe there should be any sort of bias when covering a true crime. I also wish there was more about the actual investigation prior to Alex’s arrest, but I don’t think a lot of information about that was revealed to the public.
The show was very emotional, interesting and well written. Of course, there is no real conclusion for who goes down for this crime, as the case is currently under trial. It was very innovative for Netflix to release the series on Feb. 22, since Alex’s case is being presented to the jury on Feb. 23.
The closing line of the series was a voice clip taken from a phone call conversation between Alex and his oldest surviving son, where he says, “Has Netflix put out anything about all this?” This was a lighthearted way to end the series, which then gave you time to think back on all that happened.