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The Jinx: Part Two review – more bombshells from Robert Durst, the serial killer who just won’t shut up
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The Jinx: Part Two review – more bombshells from Robert Durst, the serial killer who just won’t shut up

It has been nine years since The Jinx aired its explosive finale and we heard the immortal words uttered by Robert Durst: “Killed them all, of course.” He was, in essence, confessing to the murders of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst (in 1982); his best friend, Susan Berman (in 2000); and his neighbour, Morris Black (in 2001). The documentary film-makers handed their evidence over to law enforcement in 2013, and he was arrested on 14 March 2015, the day before the finale aired. He was convicted of the murder of Berman in 2021 and charged with McCormack’s disappearance – but died in prison at the age of 78, the day before that trial was due to begin.

With Durst now gone, it is hard to know exactly what fresh intel a sequel to The Jinx could possibly reveal, and whether or not this is simply a Tiger King 2-style cash grab. But the first four episodes present a reasonably compelling tale that overlaps with the first series, following the investigation into Durst reopened by the Los Angeles district attorney, based on the recordings received from the film-makers.

Previous attempts to prosecute Durst had been halted thanks to the leverage of his immense wealth passed down from his real-estate magnate father. But, unfortunately for him, not even incredible privilege can protect you when you won’t shut up. Durst simply cannot stop incriminating himself. He would probably have got off scot-free if it weren’t for the confounding choice to confess to murder while miked up for an HBO documentary. As the district attorney John Lewin says: when it comes to interrogation, people can choose to talk or to remain silent – and “Bob always talks”.

The first episode is the strongest. It follows from the reopening of the cold case until the airing of the season finale, and we learn how Durst reacted in real time to his newfound fame. Even with his propensity for indiscretion, the lack of restraint remains shocking. It transpires that, at the end of each episode airing on HBO, he’d call Charles Bagli, a reporter from the New York Times, to discuss it. By episode five of the first series he became nervous, hatching a plan so ridiculous it has to be heard to be believed. By which I mean attempting to go on the lam disguised as a “deaf-mute” woman called Dorothy – the product of a mind that must have seen too much Scooby-Doo.

If watching an hour of television about the impact of a prior hour of television doesn’t sound meta enough, The Jinx – Part Two goes full hall of mirrors at the conclusion: watching the families of the victims, the investigators and the prosecutors, who were the subjects of both documentaries, all watching the season finale in the home of its creator, Andrew Jarecki. They all gasp as they hear the totemic “Killed them all, of course”, and though Kathleen’s brother speaks of the catharsis of that moment, there is something a little salacious and icky about having her family hear it for the first time on camera. The rest of the room quickly springs into debating whether the “confession” will be admissible as evidence in court, but you can see Kathleen’s family members processing something seismic. Rather than giving them space to take it all in, they are interrupted by Fox News’s “Judge Jeanine” Pirro, who was responsible for the first prosecution of Kathleen’s case, squawking about legal protocols. It is, to put it mildly, a choice.

There are other worthwhile elements in the following episodes, which dig into the trial itself and Durst’s fate. “The wonder twins”, David and Michael Belcher – law students who worked on the case with Lewin – remain infectiously enthusiastic about their work, explaining how they were always first there and last to leave. But this isn’t as feelgood a tale as the framing suggests. It is still horrifying that you can be as cack-handed a serial killer as Durst and almost get away with it. It’s also a little long-winded when it shifts focus to the machinations of the justice system rather than the wild choices of a diminutive murderer. The Jinx – Part Two would have made a solid two or three episodes, but feels the need to take the sprawling approach. Like Durst, it doesn’t always know when it’s time to stop talking.

Source: theguardian.com