The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst: Family Values
March 16, 2015 11:08 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Present Day: In the 33 years since Kathie Durst disappeared, no progress has been made in finding out what happened to her, or finding her body. Without answers, her family and friends continue to hunt for the truth.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
NYT: As ‘The Jinx’ Airs, Inquiry Into Death of Durst’s Friend Is Said to Be Reopened:
The district attorney in Los Angeles has recently reopened an investigation into the killing of Mr. Durst’s friend, Susan Berman, in December 2000, and is tying it to the case about his missing wife in New York, according to four people who have spoken to investigators. Their inquiry could be bolstered by new evidence shown publicly for the first time on Sunday in the fifth episode of an HBO documentary about Mr. Durst: “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”
(Spoiler note: body of article is safe wrt spoilers for episode 6, but related-article links at head of page are not.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:16 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

So... I've been thinking about why this is such compelling viewing, other than the murder-mystery plots usually are - and I've come up with some wacky ideas. Do you wish to hear them?

1) We like spending time with Robert Durst; he is very likable even while he is being difficult and unconvincing in his lying. He seems just like an everyday New Yorker, in fact. And his charm and likability is cited throughout the documentary by several people.

He has a very good face - sorry to be so blunt or gross, but his features are very regular, even, and pleasing, even at an advanced age. He is well-groomed, well-dressed, and his skin is unusually even and clear for the interviews (I assume Durst had makeup applied for the interviews, but possibly not). *He looks nice.* He looks like a nice, clean, mannered person. I'm not saying we're all so easily duped, but it does go a long way in swaying one's opinion, or at least making one resistant to the idea that this is someone who has killed people.

His mild manner, along with his appearance, cause a kind of uneasiness - and you feel compelled to keep watching to make sense of it all. My favorite phrase for this is seeking cognitive clarity - you cannot reconcile his personhood with the acts that he is accused of, and need to keep watching to find out which conflicting narrative wins.

2) The other thing I was thinking about is that we, Americans, that is, love spending time with rich people. And this guy is mega-rich - isn't it just a little - I don't know - wonderful in some bizarre way to have such access to New York real estate - ugh - elite? Sounds awful but I think that gaining that closeness to someone that is from a totally different world than you is enticing, and provides a form of escapism. What must it be like - to be so well-off? Well, he tells you, and you learn, from the story that unfolds...

Those are my wacky theories and they are mine. Ahem.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:34 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

He also, I think, looks small and vulnerable in the interviews: gray hair, thin face, thin voice. Striking how much more threatening he looked in the orange jumpsuit and shaved head back in Galveston.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:41 PM on March 16, 2015

What must it be like - to be so well-off?

Fun fact: Jarecki has more money than Durst.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:08 AM on March 17, 2015

Holy. Shit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:39 PM on March 17, 2015

Whoa. This ramped up to speed REALLY fast.
posted by St. Hubbins at 6:48 PM on March 18, 2015

"California's a big state." *smirks* *wipes face*
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:03 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Vulture: Everything We Know About Robert Durst’s Second Wife, Debrah Lee Charatan

It was very noticable in this that she's only present in the archive interview; and that the show doesn't really give any information on their current relationship. It also casts significant shade on her -- the husband-wife privilege, the power of attorney -- which she isn't present to comment upon.

Notable also that she isn't mentioned at all in the interviews with Robert either: was he unwilling to comment on that relationship?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:12 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I started watching this last night and wow what a great series this has been so far. I haven't kept up with the news at all--have in fact been avoiding it purposefully--but this has been fascinating to me.

I think Durst, for all his charm and intelligence and wit, would make a horrible poker player. From the very beginning, that blink has just looked like such an obvious tell to me that I kind of would like to see a compilation of every statement he made in the series with a pause afterwards to give me time to note "lie," "half-truth," or "truth" and see if they match up with how much he blinks.
posted by johnofjack at 4:38 PM on February 8, 2016

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