Unbelievable and other Netflix shows and films about coerced confessions

Photo: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix. Acquired via Netflix Media Center.
Photo: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix. Acquired via Netflix Media Center. /
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Making a Murderer via Netflix
Making a Murderer via Netflix /

Making a Murderer

Another two-season show, Making a Murderer tells the two-part story of Steven Avery, a man who from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin who was arrested in 1985 and convicted in 2005 of the sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beernsten, for which Avery served 18 years in prison. Avery was also convicted for a second time in 2007 for the murder of a woman named Teresa Halbach.

Though Avery’s sentencing was dependent on his nephew, Brendan Dassey, confessing that his uncle was responsible for the deaths of the two women, the show’s season 2 focuses on lawyers trying to convince the court that Dassey’s confession was coerced and forced by law enforcement officers and detectives who violated Dassey’s legal rights. At the time, Dassey was also being tried as an accessory in the murders.

What sets the Making a Murderer documentary apart from other coerced confession shows is that the law enforcement involved with this crime were actually suspected of planting evidence against Avery. With forced confessions, Avery being arrested again after two years of freedom and no evidence to tie him to the first murder, the show is nothing less than totally stressful. But good luck tearing away.