HomeMovie ReviewEnergy, Useless Our bodies, and Stolen Hundreds of thousands – Rolling Stone

Energy, Useless Our bodies, and Stolen Hundreds of thousands – Rolling Stone

In case you have a style for lurid information you in all probability know that Alex Murdaugh is presently on trial in Walterboro, South Carolina, for the homicide of his spouse and youthful son. It’s the type of story that makes true-crime professionals drool: a once-prominent, now-disgraced lawyer is charged with bloody heinousness. Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, a brand new three-part Netflix docuseries, is both extremely well timed or overtly opportunistic — or, most probably, each. It supplies a crash course within the scandals and deaths which have engulfed the old-money Murdaugh household for years, together with a deadly boating accident, the mysterious deaths of a household housekeeper and an area teen, a staged would-be suicide, and the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.

In the event you can’t make hay out of this materials you don’t belong in Netflix’s ever-expanding true-crime gallery, and filmmakers Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason do a high-quality job spinning the yarn, pulling the viewer this manner and that, and letting the “Are you able to high this?” particulars slowly pile up. The present homicide trial is merely the ultimate act in a tragedy concerning the abuse of energy inflicted by a big-fish, small-pond household whose skeletons have left the closet and begun dancing by city.

Murdaugh Murders ought to attraction most to viewers who haven’t already been poring over the case, and to those that haven’t already consumed some, or, heaven forbid, the entire earlier documentary initiatives concerning the topic. There are a number of. 20/20: Fall of the Home of Murdaugh premiered on Hulu in January 2022. Investigation Discovery quickly adopted with Murdaugh Murders: Lethal Dynasty, streaming on Discovery+. HBO Max checked in with Low Nation: The Murdaugh Dynasty, which dug deeper into the household historical past, and CNBC’s American Greed collection did a two-parter that concentrates on the household’s enterprise dealings. By no means accuse streamers of neglecting a great true crime feeding frenzy. Then once more, no person ever went broke underestimating the American urge for food for scandal.

Alex Murdaugh listens to testimony throughout his homicide trial on the Colleton County Courthouse on Feb. 10, 2023, in Walterboro, South Carolina.

Joshua Boucher/The State/Tribune Information Service through Getty Photographs

In equity, there’s lots to feed on. The Netflix collection begins with the 2019 loss of life of 19-year-old Mallory Seashore in a drunken boating accident in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Paul Murdaugh, described as a violent drunk, was on the wheel; he’s the youthful Murdaugh scion who was later killed whereas out on bail. In accordance with the collection, he allegedly tried to shift the blame to a different pal, precipitating a cover-up aided by native legislation enforcement. This primary episode establishes Alex Murdaugh as a person who runs issues behind the scenes, or, when needed, out within the open. “Murdaughs don’t actually get advised ‘no’ a lot,” explains Morgan Doughty, Paul’s longtime girlfriend, who describes being bodily abused by her boyfriend.

The collection advantages from these interviews with Paul’s buddies and friends, together with Mallory’s boyfriend, Anthony Cook dinner, who thought-about Paul a great pal. No person in Murdaugh Murders is crying poor, however most don’t have Murdaugh cash. That is largely a research in how wealth seduces, or how a gaggle of sentient younger individuals fell underneath the sway of a spoiled sociopath who, when sober, might be fairly charming (and whose household had its personal aircraft and touchdown strip).

Then the collection will get all the way down to the actually unusual stuff. In June 2021, Paul and his mom, Maggie, had been discovered murdered close to the household’s nation residence. He was shot with a shotgun, she with a rifle, apparently after they found Alex Murdaugh’s sizable stash of opiates. From there, previously-whispered tales concerning the household turned amplified. There was the unusual loss of life of an area teen, who was rumored to be having a sexual relationship with the elder Murdaugh son, Buster. There was the equally unusual loss of life of the Murdaugh household housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who was mentioned to have tripped over the household canine and fallen on stairs on the Murdaugh residence (shades of The Staircase), dying from her accidents quickly after. In 2022, Alex Murdaugh admitted that he owed Satterfield’s sons a multi-million-dollar settlement that they hadn’t been advised about. Prosecutors have accused him of defrauding victims out of greater than $8 million. Murdaugh additionally admitted to hiring a household pal to shoot him within the head in a faux suicide try, hoping {that a} homicide would possibly assist Buster accumulate on a $10 million life insurance coverage coverage.


This can be a dizzying array of malfeasance and allegation, tied to the highest-profile legal case within the nation. In different phrases, a Netflix fever dream. However there’s a deeper situation to be gleaned from the macabre mess.

It’s a great guess that cities throughout the nation have a Murdaugh household. They might not include these outsize dimensions, or gory particulars, or sheer tabloid-ready lunacy. Privilege, nonetheless, is available in all styles and sizes. It’s typically entrenched in previous cash — the Murdaugh dynasty goes again a number of generations — that buys a variety of affect and might simply persuade a robust brood that it may possibly get away with something. Quite a lot of the Murdaugh fascination stems from a selected type of schadenfreude, the comeuppance of unbridled, influential wealth. The nation wouldn’t care about Alex Murdaugh if he weren’t wealthy and highly effective. He’s, or was, each. And now he pays the piper, one trial, and docuseries, at a time.



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