(This article discusses the HBO documentary The Jinx, including significant revelations and events that have occurred since the series aired. If you’ve somehow missed all of the national news coverage regarding its subject, Robert Durst, and don’t want this article to mess up your summer plans to finally getting around to watching The Jinx, consider yourself warned.)
Since HBO’s six-part documentary series The Jinx aired in March, the creative team behind the project have been keeping a low profile. That was in large part due to the role that the series played in giving Robert Durst a platform in which to incriminate himself, and his arrest that coincided with the conclusion of the documentary. Jinx Director Andrew Jarecki and producer Marc Smerling recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the project, their potential role as witnesses in any future prosecution, and their assessment of Durst himself.
“To try the case in the media, or for us to provide some pseudo-expert opinions about how the legal process is going to go, is only going to confuse people and go beyond our sphere of expertise,” said Jarecki, tactfully acknowledging by omission that everybody who watched The Jinx now has formed their own pseudo-expert opinions.
And speaking about when he decided that Durst must obviously be guilty, he said that they tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. “The moment where that changed was our finding that letter in the same handwriting,” Jarecki said, referencing the anonymous letter that notified the police as to the location of Susan Berman’s body. Smerling admits more initial skepticism, saying “I always found it so hard to reconcile that Bob had been so close to three tragedies.” Of course, there was also all of that uncomfortable blinking and belching, which is also a dead giveaway that you have a murderous psychopath on your hands.
Jarecki also commented on the nature of Durst’s alleged crimes. “The man, in our view, is not just a random killer,” Jarecki said. “He’s a strategic killer and won’t put himself at risk unless he thinks there’s an upside.” That doesn’t exactly match up with a motive for the slaying of his first wife, which the documentary presents as a possible horrible conclusion to a pattern of physical abuse. It does align with the other two murders, which may have been how Durst handled a friend and a neighbor who extorted him for money.
Smerling and Jarecki confirmed that they will be called as witnesses, but that in regards to events following the airing of the documentary, including his arrest on gun charges, they are “as in the dark as anyone.” Potentially, if they were interested in finding exactly what new developments have befallen Durst since his arrest, they could presumably find out by simply visiting him in Louisiana, strapping a hot mic to his chest, and sending him off to the bathroom to loudly divulge the critical details.