The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst: What the Hell Did I Do?
March 17, 2015 8:32 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Present day: Nearly a decade has passed since the filmmakers began investigating Robert Durst and his alleged crimes. They have spoken to more than 100 participants in Robert’s story, including family, friends, police, lawyers, jurors and journalists in an attempt to get at the truth.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (21 comments total)
I loved the moment at the very beginning when they handed Jeanine Pirro the composite of the two BEVERLEY HILLSes: "Son of a bitch!" [Cue opening credits sequence.]
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:59 AM on March 17, 2015 [7 favorites]

A couple articles about Durst and the various timelines - Because I, for one, am confused.
posted by amanda at 9:52 AM on March 17, 2015

Even though I got spoiled by damn gawker (a pox on thee!!) about the potty audio, the final episode was fascinating! Watching him trying to wiggle out of this one is going to be fun.
posted by pearlybob at 11:26 AM on March 17, 2015

So from what I gather, the timeline issue is important because the interview where Durst is shown the damning letter, with the bathroom confessional at the end, happens just before they walk around Times Square and are harassed by the security guards. As I recall, it's pointed out to Durst, in the earlier episode with this footage, where his brother lived. And that interview is in 2012. Which means that Durst was probably thinking in 2013 (when he violated his brother's order of protection) that the jig was up, and he'd be arrested soon. (There's some speculation that when he was in the bathroom, he might have thought that police were waiting nearby to arrest him.)

But yeah, there's some stuff in episode 6 that appears to have been shot in 2013, and it does flaw a fairly flawless documentary.
posted by Catblack at 12:04 PM on March 17, 2015

Wasn't there something mentioned in the final interview about how he'd been in trouble for violating the protective order? Or maybe they just edited it to give that impression. I need to watch it again, I guess.
posted by something something at 12:52 PM on March 17, 2015

"Barcelona? He actually told me he was in Madrid."

The episode implies that Jarecki & co used the "violating the order of protection" arrest to gain the 2nd interview ("obviously it gives us a lot of leverage"). But the reporting since then says that those events are the wrong way round for that. Which comes across as a somewhat shady back-construction of what really happened during filming: they re-ordered it for a more exciting story?

Interesting: I did notice in the episode that in the phone call to Durst's lawyer immediately after the "leverage" comment, they do not mention the interview as a quid-pro-quo: the "my only request" was that use of their footage be limited to just the relevant sections.

I liked the see-sawing explanation better:
Sounds like he's just going to keep putting it off and keep seesawing and torturing us. I think it just literally comes down to, in the sleepwalking of Bob, is today a day when he feels like talking, is it a day when he doesn't feel like talking. If it is a day when he feels like talking, he'll give me a date. Later on, if it happens by coincidence that that date is another day when he feels like talking, he'll show up. If it's not another day when he feels like talking, he won't show up.
The other thing I wonder: how satisfying would this have been had they not discovered the bathroom audio? There's a lot of cat-and-mouse "we're gonna get him with this" anticipation in this episode: how are they going to spring the envelope on him, how is he going to react? But ultimately all they get in the 2nd interview is yet another not-particularly-convincing denial by Durst. Without the "confession" this would have been a much less definitive ending. (But probably impossible to say; obviously the last two episodes, and probably more, are structured to build to that final audio; and would have been constructed differently without it.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:53 PM on March 17, 2015

Even without the audio, I think it would have been pretty satisfying. I mean, the envelope is a damning piece of evidence, and they have footage of him saying that whoever wrote the envelope had to be the killer.
posted by graventy at 6:12 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

And the burping...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:42 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Looking forward to the pulpy true-crime bestseller Burp of Guilt: The Capture of Robert Durst.
posted by doctornecessiter at 4:55 AM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

With the obfuscation of the timeline it almost feels like Jarecki may have had the envelopes and did not turn them over to the police for a very long time. That could be bad for him, if true. Or they are trying to inflate their own role in the "violation of a court order" to stay away from Douglas. Which doesn't seem like a good idea.
posted by amanda at 6:30 AM on March 18, 2015

There's a 2003 article which goes into Durst's time in Galveston a bit more. They even track down an old companion of his. It reveals a bunch of details not in the documentary.
posted by Catblack at 9:51 AM on March 18, 2015

The timeline is just theater. It's dumb and they shouldn't have tried to inflate the story like they did but that's the way they told it and it is a flaw but not a fatal one I don't think.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:59 PM on March 18, 2015

Yeah, I tend to agree with Nicole Cliffe on this one (as linked by We had a deal, Kyle, above):
Here are the only timelines that matter:

The Timeline of The Jinx

1. Filmmakers make a documentary about Robert Durst.

2. During the making of this documentary, they tirelessly pursue evidence ignored or overlooked by the original investigators and manage to solve the case of Susan Berman and almost-solve the case of Kathie Durst while also entertaining the nation in a wildly-enjoyable six part series.

3. Durst is now in jail and unable to murder anyone unless normal law enforcement and the justice system manage to fuck it up again.

The Timeline of Normal Law Enforcement

1. The police fail to stop Robert Durst from murdering anyone and do absolutely nothing for decades and decades.

2. Durst dies of old age, probably having murdered a fourth person along the way, because he’s a murderer.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:26 AM on March 19, 2015 [7 favorites]

Tying back to joseph conrad's comment on the previous episode: it startled the hell out of me when Jarecki, after the handwriting thing, said "you know, I like the guy."

GUH BLUH WHAT? Even before the letter: you know for sure that he's a liar; you know for sure that at a bare minimum he dismembered and disposed of a body. NOT A NICE GUY. And yet that aura of likeability.

While I remember: the "Oh, I want this." in the bathroom confession was almost as creepy as the "Killed them all, of course."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:02 PM on March 19, 2015

That whole thing was super creepy, and yet I found myself laughing at "And the burping..."

He's weird, but despite being a killer, he's funny and charismatic when he wants to be.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:12 PM on March 19, 2015

I have some suspicions about the neatness of the story presented, but I have to say that it was an amazing watch even in spite of that. Watching Durst's face when he was presented with the letter was chilling, and then the bathroom confession even more so. It was real to a disturbing extent for being on TV... like final scenes in The Act of Killing, just watching someone coming face-to-face with their crimes.

RE: Bob, he does seem like one of his skills was ingratiating himself with people. Even if he had a stellar defense team, part of his ability to sell the incredibly improbable Galveston story was to be likable, and in the end he had the jury eating out of his hand.

He's done so many terrible things to people, and he just keeps getting away. I have to wonder if there's some human element to him that was relieved to get caught, and if the bathroom slip-up wasn't more premeditated than it seems. I guess now since he's going to be tried again his story goes from documentary to reality TV.
posted by codacorolla at 7:06 PM on April 2, 2015

Someone told me to watch this after "Making a Murderer", and I wish I hadn't. I find the manipulation of the timeline and Andrew Jarecki in general to be sleazy. He doesn't seem to know how to tell a compelling story without manipulating the facts. I had similar issues with "Capturing the Friedmans" and "Catfish," so fool me once, I guess.
posted by donajo at 10:22 AM on January 11, 2016

On the whole, I really liked this series but the last episode struck me as one of the weaker ones even without knowing that they manipulated the timeline--Durst is not cooperating any more? So what? I didn't care about the filmmakers' plight on that.

And I don't understand why they manipulated the timeline, anyway: it could have been a strong ending with the confrontation about the handwriting followed by Bob's weird bathroom dialogue, then the footage outside the building with the security and so forth, then the NY Times guy explaining Bob's jealousy and alluding to that birthright story in the Old Testament. Cut to black with titles saying that George had taken another order of protection against Robert. Fade out quickly, fade in quickly on a statement that a few months later George was arrested for violating the order. Cut to solid black, roll music.
posted by johnofjack at 3:32 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just finished this series and was so glad to see it covered in Fanfare. Thank you. I wish I had more of substance to add right now, but I have to say this:

I believe to the very depths of my soul that "Oh, I want this." is Robert Durst stealing hotel soaps and I will never be persuaded to the contrary.
posted by juliplease at 7:47 PM on June 14, 2017

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