[TV] The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

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Last week, my friend Bill over at @STCPod, brought to my attention a new TV show that has been airing on HBO Canada, stating that it would be “super up my alley”. The Jinx, a six-part docudrama was his recommendation, and he encouraged me to block time immediately to watch it.

Was The Jinx up my alley? Boy, was it ever! Being a true crime buff, not only was it up my alley, it actually resides in my alley, pushing that hobo of everything else crime related aside to make more room for the Jinx‘s time-sucking self. I binge-watched this show, and with its subject in the news just this week, everything is coming up Robert Durst. I have been reading and watching everything on this guy, including every similar late-night news exposé on Durst on competing networks. You’d think I’d be bored to death of this story by now. Not a chance.

If you are not familiar with what the Jinx is about, here’s the Coles Notes* version:

New York native, Robert Durst, heir to a fortune from his mogul father’s real estate empire, has had a sordid and suspicious history that began with the disappearance of his wife Kathie in 1982, of which he is the prime suspect (she has never been found). In 2001, he was indicted, for the murder and dismemberment of neighbour, Morris Black. Amazingly, Durst was acquitted of all charges on a self-defense plea. As of March 2015, he is up on charges of murder on the 2000 execution-style death of his best friend, Susan Berman.

At the time the Jinx was in production, Robert Durst was free as a bird. It was after he watched the drama, All Good Things, a movie based on Durst’s life that he called the director of that film, Andrew Jarecki, and offered to be interviewed+ and thus, the Jinx was born.

I am familiar with Andrew Jarecki, particularly from his other crime docs, Catfish (which I reviewed here) and Capturing the Friedmans. Robert Durst’s story, when told through Jarecki’s documentary lens, produces one heck of a yarn that gets stranger with every episode. Interviews and reenactments of the tale through acting montages, and a haunting soundtrack which includes the Eels’ “Fresh Blood,” as the title track, the Jinx is definitely a series that is both fascinating and intense. Definitely check it out!

5/5

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
Dir: Andrew Jarecki
2015 HBO

* Coles Notes (also known as Cliffs Notes in the U.S.) are student guides to literature, one could buy via Coles Bookstores in Canada.

+ Yes, you read that right!! Durst actually asked to be interviewed, and might have incriminated himself in the process…can you believe the audacity of this guy?

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13 comments

    1. To quote that one police detective, “he’s not evil, he’s downright diabolical!”

      What gets me is why, after all this time, all the aliases he’s used, all the places he has hidden away out of the spotlight – why would he subject himself to the lion’s den and be interviewed by the media? Not too bright.

      It seems that whenever he was backed into a corner, he lashed out. I suspect it was all about money extortion. Kathie was going to leave him, and take him for his money in the divorce so he got rid of her. He got too comfortable with Morris Black and told him about Kathie, and Morris tried to extort money from him to keep from going to the police. Susan Berman – very much the same thing. She fell on hard financial times and likely kept asking for more money – which Durst willingly gave…but she probably asked for a king’s ransom in exchange for keeping quiet. The reasons why he murdered are right there.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I really fancy seeing this. Really intriguing chap – like Mr 1537 and Mike have said, he appears to be insanely arrogant and completely off the map.

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    1. I’ll have to ask my sister which Shakespeare Coles Notes it was, but she once pointed out to me that one of them was dead wrong on a major plot point. She loved reading essays from students and finding that error in their essays, thus pointing out to her that they’d never read the play, just the CNs. Shed totally nail ’em for it.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow, I had no idea! Crazy to think they’re putting those out as study guides and they’ve got wrong info in them. NUTS! Ah well, there’s proof that you’re best to just roll up your sleeves and do the grunt work yourself instead of relying on the help of others. OUR PARENTS WERE RIGHT 😉

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      1. That’s funny – I’d imagine English teachers likely catch a lot of Romeo & Juliet essays where students write “and then Leo shot Tybalt” which I’m sure would have been in Shakespeare’s original play!
        Sarca – later on the day of your post, I was reading a book named The High Road (the sequel to the Best Laid Plans) and there was a reference to both Cliffs Notes & King Lear, a neat life/art moment!

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  2. Part of me wants to watch this. Part of me doesn’t. The part that does says it’d be fascinating and informative. The other part watched my lovely wife work in a max security prison as a therapist for three years and, well, even from what little she could tell me about it, I kinda burnt on true crime stuff. I can’t imagine she’d wanna see it. 😉

    As for why he’d do this, well, there’s the possibility that, because he’s aging, a bit of conscience is poking through. Going on this show is unlikely to get him arrested for it again – he’s been acquitted of the crimes – unless somehow it leads to new evidence against him and I doubt he’s THAT dumb. I dunno, just reading this and the other comments, it feels to me like this might be the precursor to an eventual deathbed confession.*

    That crime hobo, though, he HAS to stop pissing in the stairwell.

    * if I’m right, you read it here first. Go me! If not, oh well.

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