Sunday, February 19, 2017

Watched - The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

'Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki examines the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon, Robert Durst, the key suspect in a series of unsolved crimes.'

I am a true-crime fan.  I'm probably addicted to it.  I could watch Snapped and ID channel all freakin' day, and some people find that a little creepy.  LOL

I remember seeing commercials for this HBO docu-series called The Jinx when it was first coming out, and I remember being intrigued.  I never ended up watching it though because I just didn't get what it was supposed to be.  Real?  Drama?  How could they do a documentary if these crimes were still being investigated?  Is this the real guy or an actor?  There were just so many things that seemed weird and confusing to me that in the end I just dismissed it all and carried on with life.

Then my bloggy friend Kevin gifted me a DVD set of the series.  He insisted I needed to watch it, that I would not be disappointed.  I was like 'Ugh, but I tried and I don't understand . . . ' and I put off watching it for a while.  Until now.  I put the first disc in the other day out of boredom (and guilt) and to my surprise, was very quickly hooked.  I marathon watched the first five episodes Friday afternoon/evening, worked Saturday and didn't get to watch any, but popped that final episode in early Sunday morning just to see how it all ended.  I then hopped online to see what news there has been since this 2015 series aired.

I suppose I should back up and tell you a bit about what he's accused of and what the show is about.  Robert Durst is a member of the rich and powerful Durst family, real estate tycoons in New York City.  In 1982 his wife Kathie went missing.  The case has never been solved.  She's never been found, dead or alive.  No one has ever been charged for anything.  But it's always been believed that Robert killed her.  He had a falling out with his rich family and left the business in the mid '90s.  In 2000 a very close friend of his was murdered in California.  In 2001 a man in Texas was murdered, and Robert was charged with *that* crime.  In 2010 the movie All Good Things came out, which is a 'loosely veiled' telling of the missing wife story.  Robert saw the movie, contacted the director, and wanted to be interviewed so he could tell his side of the story.  That interview turned into the six episode series, The Jinx.

From what I got out of the series is that the theory is Robert killed his wife and got away with it for many years.  Later something happened (can't remember just what) that was going to reopen the case so Robert quietly slipped away.  He was on the run but people didn't really realize it because he was eccentric and already falling out with his family.  Theory is that his very close friend in California had fallen on hard times and was needing money, and perhaps had hinted to Robert that he help her out or she'd go to authorities about where he was and possibly what he'd done.  So he killed her.  He was then living incognito in Texas and, theory has it, his neighbor/friend found out who he was and was possibly going to notify authorities so, yes, he was killed.  Once he was arrested for that murder, all the other things started being looked at again and dots were being connected.

There is a lot of, um, quirkiness about this guy.  The whole messy story often seems like a badly written Hollywood movie, yet it's *real.*  He has tons of money so he has top lawyers and they saved him from the murder charge.  The jury decided it was an accidental death, so he was acquitted.  There is mystery in the Durst family too.  Do they know something about the missing wife?  Did they help cover something up?  There are just so many 'What the......' moments!  You can't help but wonder how this guy was never caught.  I don't know how to describe it really.  Robert comes across as both a crazy man and a very sneaky genius.  He's one who speaks in technicalities.  Whether he picked that up from his effective legal team or was always like that, I'm not sure.  He's the kind of guy who's going to get around things that same way, on technicalities.

I actually felt a bit sorry for Robert Durst for a while.  His family didn't really take part in the series.  I think a nephew was interviewed . . . ?  Robert's brother though, refused, although they did find ways to work him into the story.  The family seems rather dickish, all the rich folks rallying together against the black sheep to save the family name.  The brother had hired bodyguards and had a restraining order against Robert.  There was a part in one of the episodes where Robert wanted to be filmed outside his brother's house.  I chuckled a bit at that because it was like Robert sort of taunting in a seemingly harmless way.

It seems so obvious that Robert killed these three people.  Sometimes I think that okay maybe *he* didn't actually kill them but he had them killed.  Then I think no, he did it himself.  I mean, he didn't deny killing the Texas man.  He has flat out denied killing the other two though.  He was not very good about hiding anything in the Texas murder, yet why can't anything be found in the missing wife case?  Even the California murder has some very obvious clues.  It's all such an intriguing mess!

In episode five of the series, some interesting new evidence was discovered.  At the start of the sixth episode, I made a comment to hubby that "I wonder if he's [director Jarecki] worried his life is next?" when Jarecki and his crew were talking about what to do next.  The new evidence was a game changer, for sure.  When I was reading online after watching the show, sure enough, they had hired security because they no longer felt safe.  They are continuing to follow the Robert Durst story and I hope they do another show about what has happened since this original series.  There have been various arrests and events in the couple years since they put their series together, including Robert finally being charged with the California woman's murder.  He's an old man though, and apparently not in good health, so will anything be accomplished before he dies?  Or will his high priced legal team keep things drawn out long enough to where we'll never know what really happened?

I'm glad I finally gave in and watched this.  Thank you again, Kevin, for sending it to me!

Have you followed the Robert Durst story, or seen The Jinx?  What are your thoughts on it all?


  1. So glad you found the time to watch the antics of Mr. Durst. It's a story no one could possibly make up!Have you seen THE STAIRCASE? That true crime doc may find its way to you in the future...

    1. I have not seen The Staircase but I have now added it to my Netflix queue.

      I still keep thinking about this story, even days after.


  2. Such a weird story! I was able to watch this a couple years ago and... wow. So frustrating that they haven't yet beem able to pin him down on anything, even that case in Texas, for Pete's sake!!! I agree with Kevin that you need to watch The Staircase next. That case actually just had a new development that may or may not be the end of it, finally. (Though I find the "Owl Theory" intriguing...)

    If you listen to podcasts, there are a bunch of good true crime ones: Stranglers (re-examines the Boston Strangler case, Accused, and In the Dark (about Jacob Wetterling). I also really like Crime Writers On, which started as a Serial discussion podcast and now covers all kinds of true crime media.

    1. Hmm, well now I'm even more intrigued by The Staircase! (I've added it to my Netflix queue.)

      I'm not much into podcasts. My internet sucks so I don't have patience for things I'm not really into. I tried listening to one related to Snapped but the people annoyed me to no end. Probably the first 15 minutes was them rambling on about themselves and their drinking antics. Bleah.


  3. Nice! Durst is a mix of diabolical manipulation, luck and wealth. It's just creepy the way some people can get around the system to get away with murder. Who in his right mind would agree to a documentary showing his side and think he could come away looking innocent and consistent? I guess a person who's gotten away w/it his whole life?

    1. It's all those little technicalities, like I mentioned. 'Oh, the writing on the envelopes look identical and one is mine but you can't prove the other is, haha.' And with a legal team that apparently excels at that, it's frustrating but not really surprising that he's getting around all this stuff.

      I don't understand why the Texas murder charge was murder or nothing. Maybe just Texas law? I mean, many other places would have had the option of finding him guilty of a lesser charge where he still would have gone to prison.

      It's all fascinating to me. And aggravating!!!