- Candace Owens
- Shawn Rech
- Not Rated
- Release date
- September 8, 2023
- Where to watch
Thanks to advancements in DNA technology, after serving nearly 20 years of a 32-year sentence, Wisconsin native Steven Avery was exonerated for the sexual assault of Penny Ann Beernsten. Only three years after his release, Avery would once again find himself the prime suspect in a criminal investigation, this time for the gruesome rape and murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. In DailyWire’s Convicting A Murderer, Candace Owens attempts to break the narrative built around Avery in the 2015 mega-hit Making A Murderer.
Convicting A Murderer (E1 – An Unraveling Narrative)
In the inaugural installment, Candace Owens and team lay out the details of the original docuseries while establishing the tone and perspective of this DailyWire original, that Netflix misled the public and Steven Avery is exactly where he belongs.
It’s not fair to say that Episode 1 of Convicting A Murderer “suffers” from primarily being a recap of Making A Murderer. However, what is this episode’s greatest weakness is also a necessary evil for those without long memories or who have not recently watched the original. After all, it’s been almost a decade since the streaming phenomenon captured the attention of millions of viewers (nearly 20 million per episode) worldwide.
Furthermore, there is enough teaser material toward the episode’s end to warrant a cursory watch by those who do clearly remember the original.
The visuals, which by necessity are mostly comprised of archived news footage, do an excellent job of keeping the viewer’s attention in part thanks to the overall production quality. The music is appropriate, and driving without being overbearing. Likewise, the narration, which is provided by a mixture of Candace Owens, a handful of journalists who reported on the original case, and several “case enthusiasts,” is tasteful and does a fine job of cultivating the show’s tenor.
However, the repeated cuts to the “enthusiasts” do little to lend credibility and instead often serve to make this episode feel like less of a probe for the truth and more of a vanity project to prove to the “truthers” (the title for those who vociferously believe in Avery’s innocence) that they were duped.
Ultimately, this chapter is a mixed bag. That said, there is enough good to justify continuing to the next episode.
Convicting A Murderer (E2 – Sharing Wives)
Episode 2 of Convicting A Murderer takes off immediately, covering new material and laying solid groundwork for the case against both Netflix and Avery. As it turns out, the Netflix series left out quite a bit about Steven Avery’s sordid past while glossing over even more. Even though the evidence presented in this episode doesn’t yet focus on Teresa Hallbach’s murder, it does an excellent job of wrecking the persona that Making A Murderer built around Avery.
In Making A Murderer, Avery was often portrayed as a dimwitted victim who, despite spending almost half his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit, seemed only to want to forgive and forget. Once the audience is presented with a broader picture of the man, the truth appears to be much much different.
The visuals continue to be comprised of mostly news footage. However, there are also quite a few more one-on-ones with various reporters assigned to the case in the early 2000s. Additionally, Episode 2 dramatically reduces the series’ reliance on amateur “enthusiasts,” making for a much more focused narrative.
By the episode’s end, you may not be ready to convict Steven Avery, but you will most certainly be ready for the next installment. We recommend this episode as Worth it.
Convicting A Murderer (E3 – Avery’s Niece)
The first two episodes of Convicting A Murderer are accessible to anyone who wishes to watch. While the first was of uneven quality, the second was compelling enough to make it to our recommended selection. If you want to watch Episode 3, you’ll have to pony up the cash to get behind DailyWire’s paywall. By the end of this review, you’ll know if it’s Worth it.
“Steve Avery is a piece of human filth who deserves to be in jail” is what you’ll be screaming by episode’s end. Once again, Candace and her crew have presented a portrait of a man who is far more likely to be capable of doing that for which he’s been convicted than was shown on Netflix. Furthermore, even if Steven Avery isn’t guilty of Teresa Hallbach’s rape and murder (which hasn’t yet been established in the series), the simple man with forgiving eyes and set upon soul who many came to believe that they knew in 2015 is all but buried beneath the weight of his many transgressions.
This is easily the best episode so far. The new information is plentiful and damning. The focus is laser-sharp as the various elements introduced in the previous installments begin to coalesce into a clear narrative.
In what is the most surprising artistic turn, the “case enthusiasts” who were obnoxiously overused in the first episode and slightly less so in the second, have transformed into a Greek Chorus whose seemingly blind protestations and excuses serve to remind this audience not to do the same despite the evidence being heaped upon Avery. If it’s deliberate, it’s a brilliant choice by the filmmakers. If not, it’s a happy accident that still dramatically raises the overall quality.
So, now we’ve come to the part of the review where you want to know is it Worth it to become a paid subscriber to DailyWirePlus. Full disclosure, I’ve been a paid member for a couple of years now. I believe in their mission and choose to contribute specifically in the hopes that their ventures into entertainment will bear fruit. But is this series worth joining? Are you crazy? Of course not. No one series is worth that for any platform. Fortunately, you get much and more with your membership. So, if you’ve been vacillating between joining or not, so far, this series is worth putting you over the edge.
We cannot wait until next Thursday’s episode.
Convicting A Murderer (E4 – Shifting Timelines)
As Owens and team continue to build their case against Avery and the Netflix documentarians of Making A Murderer, this 4th episode begins to establish motive and opportunity. Avery, now clearly shown to be a far worse character than the kind-faced dimwit with an understandable, if trouble past, begins to have his version of events placed under the microscope.
Episode 4, while not quite as compelling as the previous two, does an admirable job of chipping away at the original docuseries’ narrative. Specifically, they are taking to task Making A Murderer’s masterful painting of the Manitowoc police as knee-jerk reactionists at best and criminally fraudulent at worst.
Where last week’s episodes dropped 100-megaton character bombs about Avery’s character, this installment’s truth bombs consist mainly of circumstantial evidence and hints of future revelations. This has the unfortunate side effect of rendering the Avery “truthers” a far less compelling narrative tool than in the last two episodes. Based on the pattern established so far, we assume this episode is only laying the groundwork for what’s to come.
Full of conflicting statements made by Avery as well as other details conspicuously omitted from the hit series, Convicting A Murderer continues to present a very different picture from the one that we thought we knew.
Convicting A Murderer (E5 – Manitowoc’s)
The case against both Avery and his Netflix apologist is building. In Episode 5, Candace and her team lay some heavy truths that utterly neuter some key narratives from the original docuseries.
Many of you might remember Sergent Andrew Colborn from Making A Murderer. In that series, he was made to look as though he was uniquely motivated to silence Steve Avery. Moreover, he was very convincingly portrayed as corrupt and having actively had a hand in Avery’s 1985 wrongful conviction, as well as possibly having conspired to have him wrongfully convicted for the murder of Teresa Halbach.
We don’t want to spoil anything, so we’ll say that it was virtually impossible and completely improbable for him to have been involved with the first investigation and trial in any way. That is the level of revelation that you can expect from Episode 5.
Where the Avery Truthers somewhat got in the way in the last episode, they are put to much better use in this week’s. Once again, they take up the role of a pseudo-Greek Chorus whose protestations of innocence relentlessly continue despite the evidence being heaped upon them. However, while the timing of their use is much better in this episode, at this point in the series, they are the weakest link to the harmony of the narrative structure.
Their inclusion often feels like listening to your favorite Podcast or talk radio program on a day when they take calls. The callers are never as good or as polished as the host, and their arguments are almost never as well thought out as what you usually get from the program. The result is a show with a disrupted rhythm that feels less focused and impactful.
That being said, although it’s an aesthetic disruption, it is always fascinating to see those with inflexible minds trying to refute unassailable logic and evidence.
As we reach the midway point of Convicting A Murderer, Candace Owens and her team from The DailyWire haven’t yet provided a smoking gun, but they have certainly shown that there is much more to this story than Making A Murderer showed us.
Convicting A Murderer (E6 – The Key & The License Plate Call)
We’ve passed the halfway point in the series, and the duplicity of those behind Making a Murderer is becoming ever more obvious. In Episode 6, Candace et al. show several instances of clearly deceptive editing that was nefariously used to promote a desired narrative rather than serving the truth. Combine this with some very plausible explanations behind what the original series’ presented as some of its more damming “testimony” and “evidence,” and it looks pretty likely that the Judge’s assertion that Seven Avery was the “most dangerous man to ever set foot in [his] courtroom wasn’t far from the truth.
If nothing else, this episode stands as a cautionary tale of the power of editing for anyone watching any documentary or exposé. With very little work or creativity, the two responsible for Making A Murderer, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, were able to utterly destroy a key witness’s credibility and present him to their audience as a dastardly and crooked official at worst and incompetent at best.
One of this series’ shortcomings has been its lack of identity. There are moments in which it is very focused on proving Steven Avery’s guilt and moments in which it seems intent on making Steven Avery “Truthers” appear like obstinate zealots who would argue that the grass is purple if a Manitowoc County police officer said it was green. These goals are handled well individually, but they don’t always seamlessly mesh. However, with a judicious sprinkling of Truthers relegated to espousing ridiculous and stubborn one-liners, in this episode, it seems they are finally getting a handle on what makes for a more cohesive throughline.
Another area of improvement in this episode is that there are far fewer “talking heads” with Candace, and the ones we get are much more brief. Nothing against Ms. Owens, but her presence on screen throughout the series has never made much thematic sense, and her interludes have often felt out of place.
Were she somehow involved with the original case, or if the series portrayed her as actively investigating, perhaps her presence would make sense, but most of her on-camera moments are of her sitting or standing and narrating in locations that don’t visually root her to the narrative. A single set made to give the impression of investigative work could have stood the entire series better aesthetically. This is a question of style and not substance, and doesn’t harm the argument the series is making.
After this episode of Convicting A Murderer, while you may not yet be able to find Steven Avery guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you’ll be far more understanding of how a jury could have come to that conclusion.
Convicting A Murderer (E7 – The Vial of Blood)
As the series nears its conclusion, Episode 7 of Convicting a Murderer drops its biggest bombshells yet while disintegrating any remaining sense of integrity lingering around the makers of Making A Murderer.
Since we abhor spoilers, there’s not a lot that we can discuss about this episode because it’s basically one hour of mass Avery destruction, laying out the forensic evidence that sent Stevey to prison and was criminally hidden from the MAM audience thanks to egregiously dishonest editing.
One of our biggest complaints about Convicting A Murderer has been its overreliance on Avery Truthers. Benefiting from their tempered inclusion, and thanks to the narrative annihilating evidence presented, Ep7 puts Truthers to their best use as they are shown to be comically religious zealots who will never be swayed from their adoration of Steven Avery.
Easily one of the best episodes thus far, this episode has reinvigorated our interest and has us waiting with bated breath for the next installment. Totally Worth it.
You’re joking, right?
Convicting A Murderer (E8 – Bones)
If you get nothing more from this series than to learn to take every documentary with a grain of salt, Netflix documentaries with a truckload of salt, and documentaries made by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos with ALL the salt, you’ll have gotten your money’s worth out of it.
With only two episodes left, Candace Owens and The Daily Wire are wasting no more time pounding the final nails in what is shaping up to be Steve Avery’s well-deserved coffin. In this entry, the forensic evidence that was hidden from viewers of Making A Murderer is metaphorically dumped on viewers by the literal box-load.
Furthermore, where the original series showed the video of the slow-witted Brendan Dassey being rather aggressively interrogated, and making it seem like detectives were putting words into his mouth, episode 8 of Convicting a Murderer shows how, once he admitted to the rape and killing, he was able and willing to provide a host of uncoerced details that corroborated the rather stunning amount of crime scene evidence presented to the court but not to Netflix viewers.
While the show’s weakest aspect has always been its overuse of Avery Truthers, in this installment, we get treated to a bit of schadenfreude as one of the more smug Truthers is repeatedly tripped up by his own ignorance. It may not be Christ-like, but it sure is satisfying.
Easily one of the series’ strongest episodes; if you were one of the many suckered into believing that Steven Avery was an innocent doe-eyed victim, this one might just put you over the edge.
Convicting A Murderer (E9 – Manipulating Brenden)
With only the finale remaining, Candace and the Convicting A Murderer crew have switched to fully automatic. The penultimate episode is a gas-operated air-cooled magazine-fed Carbine of truth mowing down the Making A Murderer documentarians’ credibility, the false narratives that they irresponsibly foisted upon unsuspecting Netflix viewers, and most especially, one of the original series’ most compelling arguments: that Brenden Dassey was tricked into giving a false confession.
While Dassey remains a tragic character who was likely used and abused by his family, and it seems certain that his uncle manipulated the 16-year-old into participating in the horrific acts that brought upon Teresa Halbach’s untimely and tragic death, this episode leaves little room for doubt that Brenden knew his actions were wrong.
Without question, Episode 9 is the best of the series so far. It is full of expert one-on-ones that thoroughly debunk the original series’ assertions while taking the Enola Gay for a second pass over Seven Avery’s character. The episode is further benefited by its almost complete exclusion of Avery Truthers and amateur sleuths and even puts Owens in a setting that makes sense.
As a nitpick given in the hopes that, if anyone at Daily Wire will read this, it will help their future endeavors, placing Candace in a relevant locale for her one-on-ones was an excellent aesthetic choice. However, standing and talking lack dynamics. For your next one, we’d suggest a steady cam with a bit of walking and interaction with the environment. This gives the viewer a tactile sense of being in the action.
If the details and arguments given in this episode were only good enough for the second to last show, we can’t wait to see the finale.
Convicting A Murderer (E10 – The Real Villain)
The journey that began seven weeks ago has come to an end. Any doubt about Steven Avery’s innocence is long gone, and we now know him to be a niece-banging, animal-abusing, manipulative pervert… oh yeah, and murdering rapist. So, how is it that Netflix and Making A Murderer directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos were able to so successfully pull the wool over the eyes of such a huge swath of people? The recipe is a dash of self-delusion, a gallon of narcissism, and dishonest editing practices both small and gross.
In the finale of Candice Owens’ docuseries, Owens exposes the outright lies of the original Making A Mudererer filmmakers and presents manages to win over at least one convert from the staunchest of Avery Truthers.
Episode 10, instead of finishing off the crescendo of the previous episode, makes a detour into what was always the least interesting aspect of the series, The Truthers. As anyone who’s been to a Thanksgiving dinner in the last 15 years knows, there are people which no amount of evidence will convince of the error of their viewpoint. So, in a series full of tantalizing reveals, revealing that there are liars and those who believe them is a bit of a momentum killer.
That said, it’s a fine episode in its construction, and, if you haven’t been keeping up with the series as it’s been released, we would recommend watching this one before the others.
Convicting a Murderer was an imperfect but highly entertaining and engrossing series. Provided that The Daily Wire continues to put out this level of entertainment, not to mention their children’s programming app and upcoming feature films, the future of conservative (or just not insane) entertainment looks bright.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.