The Netflix true crime docu-series Making a Murderer shocked the world when it debuted in 2015. It told the story of a man, Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison for violent crimes, including murder. Then, in 2003, he found himself a free man, after DNA evidence proved he'd been wrongfully convicted. His story gripped audiences everywhere, and with the announcement that a second season would drop this month, many viewers are wondering what comes next in the story.
Since Making a Murderer raised so many hairs about the criminal justice system, there have been a string of true crime documentaries and series popping up, from HBO's The Jinx to last year's The Keepers, and most recently the eerie bankrobber story Evil Genius. These series do more than just shock, they raise awareness, and that's why these stories speak so loudly now.
On Cold Case, the show centered primarily on the cold cases by which it took its name: unsolved cases gathering dust, sometimes for decades. However, in its first season, it took an unexpected sidestep in the same direction as Making a Murderer, centering its sixth episode on a case of wrongful conviction and reopening a case that had already been marked solved.
In "Love Conquers Al," a crook arrested for petty theft spouts out that he has information on a murder, hoping to diminish or dismiss his sentence. The murder in question was that of a teenaged girl thought to be murdered by her boyfriend who sits behind bars doing time for the crime. Lilly must investigate this new account to consider the possibility of a wrongful convinction, all while also learning how to work with a new partner. That's right - this is also the episode that introduced us to Danny Pino, the actor who played Scotty Valens.
The episode is based on the true crime story of Diane Zamora and David Graham, a teen couple engaged to be married after they graduated high school who were convicted for the murder of Adrianne Jones. It's a story of jealousy, where Graham had misled Zamora that he had an affair with Jones and she had instructed him to kill her to set it straight or else she'd do the deed herself. The plan was for Graham to drive Jones to a lake, with Zamora hiding in the trunk of his hatchback. She'd emerge, and together they'd take down the unsuspecting girl. And that's the way it supposedly went down, according to their account, with Zamora emerging from the trunk, attacking Jones and then Graham pulling the trigger that killed her.
It would take nearly a year before Zamora confessed to her roommates in the Naval Academy to the killing and they had her and Graham arrested. The couple then confessed to the killing, only to later retract their confessions, each pointing to the other as the true killer and claiming to be the accomplice in a cover-up. It confused police then, and it only got more confusing as the couple's stories continued to change over time.
In the end, both Zamora and Graham were found guilty of the murder, and as of 2007, Zamora claimed innocence and Graham was back to admitting guilt. There are still uncertainties about the case, but you know the Cold Case episode turned it into the perfect story of wrongful conviction and had the perfect song cued up for the mystery: Men at Work's "Who Can It Be Now?"
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