When is it OK to refer to your six-part documentary series that nobody had heard of before today as “one of the most anticipated television events of 2015”? When you're HBO and you're about to latch on to one of the swelling pop culture waves of 2014.
Filling the excruciating two-week gap between installments of the addictive “Serial” podcast, on Tuesday (December 2) morning, HBO announced that it will premiere “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” in February 2015.
The six-part documentary series comes from “Capturing the Friedmans” filmmakers Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling and is the product of their seven-year investigation into a series of unsolved crimes. The investigation focuses on Robert Durst, heir to a New York City real estate empire and a full participant in the series.
Jarecki developed a relationship with the reclusive Durst, who gave exclusive interviews presumably about at least three murders he has been variably linked to over the years, including the disappearance of his wife in 1982 and the dismemberment of a Texas neighbor in 2001. Durst was questioned, but never charged, in the first case (and the 2000 death of a witness) and acquitted in the second.
“What occurs in this series is so unique, there is no home for it other than HBO,” blurbs Jarecki. “Over the seven years in which we pursued the story through all its unexpected revelations, uncovering the truth became an obsession. Now the audience can watch it unfold in front of them as it did for us.”
Oddly, HBO's “The Jinx” press release makes no mention of the 2010 film “All Good Things,” which was a very loosely fictionalized version of Durst's story, directed by Jarecki and co-written by Smerling. Ryan Gosling played real estate heir David Marks in that drama, which also featured Kirsten Dunst and Frank Langella.
“Andrew and Marc have done a brilliant job weaving a story that is both a character study and thrilling murder mystery.It literally kept me on the edge of my seat,” states Lombardo. “I am thrilled that this amazing film has found a home on HBO.”
Fun facts about Andrew Jarecki: In addition directing the superb “Capturing the Friedmans,” he was a co-founder of Moviefone and also co-wrote the theme from “Felicity.”
Expect long-form crime documentaries to be one of TV's prevailing trends over the next few months as networks, cable mostly I'd assume, try to capitalize on the rabid following for Sarah Koenig's “This American Life” spinoff “Serial,” which will drop its 10th installment on Thursday morning.
When it comes to “The Jinx,” I'm there. How about you?