A new 6 part documentary series about the life of controversial developer Robert Durst called “The Jinx: the Life and deaths of Robert Durst” is set to premiere on HBO Sunday night and it is already making waves.
It tells the story of how Durst was suspected of murdering his first wife and wife Kathleen McCormack in 1982, and of her close friend, Sara Berman, was found shot dead in her home. He was also suspected of killing a neighbor in Texas, Morris Black, and chopping up his body.
The series was directed by Andrew Jarecki who brought us the shocking and compelling documentary “Capturing the Friedmans” more than a decade ago.
Durst’s estranged wife Debrah Charatan is in the film and explains why she made the long trip to visit him in Galveston County Jail every few weeks while he was held there for 20 months.
“We married in 2000. He sent flowers every week. From prison he sent a teddy bear in a hospital gown when I was operated on, ” Charatan explains. “I’ve lost all I ever loved. My parents, Holocaust survivors. My father, a butcher, had one leg. With my first husband, it was a bitter divorce and ugly custody fight. I was nobody wanting to be somebody. And Bob was good to me. The only person ever good to me.”
Indiewire said of it, “the series marshals the full complement of documentary techniques — including still photographs, archival footage, voiceovers, site visits, and re-enactments — to recreate the “life and deaths” of its subject while maintaining a certain cautious detachment. In effect, “The Jinx” is neither “Serial, ” rooted in the conventions of journalism, nor “True Detective, ” inhabiting the borderland between realism and supernaturalism, though in style and structure it contains echoes of both. Rather, as Jarecki notes near the end of the first episode, his interest in “monster stories” derives from his understanding that the perpetrator of even the most unspeakable acts once had hopes [and] dreams.”
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette said, “Sunday’s premiere is sure to draw viewers in with descriptions of Mr. Durst attempting to maintain a secret identity in Texas, the introduction of his embarrassed brother, Douglas, and audio tapes of phone calls between Mr. Durst and his piece-of-work current wife.”
In praise of the director it added, “there are not a lot of boring interview segments, because Mr. Jarecki is a smarter director than to allow that to happen and because Mr. Durst himself fascinates at every turn.”