Brendan Dassey Will Be Released From Prison; TV Really Does Make Stuff Happen

'Making A Murderer' is still dividing popular opinion.

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Late last year, Making a Murderer made people feel weird by chronicling the real life story of Steven Avery, a man who was first found to be falsely imprisoned for committing sexual assault and then soon went back to jail for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach.

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Brendan Dassey — who is Avery’s nephew and was 16 at the time — was also jailed in 2007 for being an accomplice to the murder, but attorneys have since argued that Dassey’s confession was false and was attained unlawfully. In August, Dassey’s confession was “rendered involuntary” as a result of “false promises” from interrogators, as well as Dassey’s “age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult”.

Today it’s been announced that Dassey will be released under supervision pending an appeal, but may not travel beyond Wisconsin or obtain a passport.

It seems strange to think that the numerous Reddit threads that sifted through the evidence of the case, the petitions sent to the White House and the amateur sleuths who dug up the hours long footage of Dassey’s confession, made a difference to this outcome, but Dassey’s case probably wouldn’t have been looked at again if not for the buzz from Making a Murderer. If true crime is now positioned as a call to action, as if it only exists to right a wrong, it’ll be interesting to see how this changes the way the genre operates in the future.

Making a Murderer showrunners Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have not commented on Dassey’s release yet, but when his original verdict was overturned in August, they said: “Today there was a major development for the subjects in our story and this recent news shows the criminal justice system at work. As we have done for the past ten years, we will continue to document the story as it unfolds, and follow it wherever it may lead”.

Maybe they’re saving it for season two?