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‘The Jinx’ Under Scrutiny In Lead-Up To Robert Durst Trial: Gothamist


Robert Durst in a promo photo for “The Jinx.” (HBO)

In 2015, the HBO mini-series The Jinx put Manhattan real estate tycoon Robert Durst, and his multiple criminal allegations, under the microscope. But the way the engrossing series ended left even the most skeptical viewers slack-jawed. After a tense interview with filmmakers, Durst excused himself and heads to the bathroom. Through a hot mic that he didn’t know was on, he’s heard saying: “What the hell did I do…killed them all, of course.”

Durst’s off-camera remarks came off like an admission of guilt, and further incriminated him of what people had long suspected: That he committed several murders, including his former wife, Kathie Durst, and his dear friend Susan Berman. Following the bombshell ending, a judge called it a “succinct confession,” and ordered Durst stand trial for Berman’s murder. The show went on to sweep awards, and helped usher in a true crime boom that’s since been inescapable from the tube and podcasts alike.

But as The NY Times reports, it seems that Durst’s damning final words were presented out of order by the filmmakers behind the The Jinx (Andrew Jarecki, Zac Stuart-Pontier, and Marc Smerling). And while editing is crucial to shaping any narrative in film, in documentaries and features alike, the recent reveal raises questions about when a riveting soundbite bleeds into something possibly misleading.

Durst’s legal team is currently planning to use the edits in his forthcoming murder trial in Los Angeles, in September. There, he’ll stand trial for Berman’s 2000 shooting death. The L.A. District Attorney’s office will also be able to present further evidence related to another case, the 2001 death of Durst’s neighbor in Galveston, Texas, for which he was acquitted.

Speaking to the Times, the documentarians doubled down on their decision, stating that the way they edited Durst’s words in the film did not change the meaning of what he said.

Last month, Durst was slapped with a lawsuit filed in Manhattan alleging that he murdered Kathie Durst and his family helped cover it up, because she had information about illegal business practices that could undo them. He’s pleaded not guilty to the murder accusations.

Durst’s legal team, as well as The Jinx filmmakers, did not immediately reply to Gothamist’s request for comment.

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