I’m reading a whodunit right now where, halfway through, we’re beginning to turn our eyes on the sweetest, most innocent one. It’s early enough that I know that’s not the end result—or at least, I hope not. But I also feel like it’s too late for any other guns to be brought onstage. Whoever did it has already been introduced, which makes me feel a little sick and a little down.
Kind of the way I feel about this upcoming JonBenet Ramsey show.
I really like true crime, and I can see myself going down the Google hole on this with very little trouble. The amount of new, damning ‘evidence’ in the trailer alone tells me I’m going to be scrutinizing that ransom note later today and probably all through September, when I should be doing other things.
But the show doesn’t look ‘good’, the way Making A Murderer was good. It feels kind of creepy, for reasons other than the obvious. I think.
I’m not going to get on a high horse about what is or isn’t entertainment. We all watched hours and hours of coverage on OJ this year. We all picked apart the Teresa Halbach murder. Yes, JonBenet was a child, but everyone’s somebody’s child.
No, here’s what’s bothering me about the entertainment value of the show about a murdered 6 year old: nobody went to jail for this. There’s no false imprisonment, there’s nobody maybe getting exonerated. Nobody was even charged. In a situation like this, with ransom notes and whatever else, you’re telling me there were no leads?
No…you know what it probably is. What the trailer wants you to think. Either it was someone in her family, or her family knew, and they covered it up. That’s maybe an interesting story, but there’s nobody to uncover. The gun’s already onstage.
What makes it different is that, unlike Adnan’s case or Stephen Avery’s, we all watched the crime unfold at the time. We all wondered what was up with the parents then. Which means if something turns out to point definitively at one of them, or at her brother or someone else we ‘know’, they’ve been hiding in plain sight the whole time.
Truth is stranger than fiction, right?
I know these are experienced producers. They’ll work hard to separate the forensics of the crime from the reality of the little girl who died, no thanks to the creepy re-enactment of the pirouettes. Knowing that, will you watch? Or does this one somehow feel too close to home?