The immense success of Making a Murderer—the addictive 2015 documentary series that follows the incredible story of Steven Avery, a 54-year-old Wisconsin man who has been in prison since 2005 for a murder he may or may not have committed—was surprising to a lot of people, including the powers-that-be at Netflix. Reed Hastings, the company’s CEO, admitted that his main thought about the series was, “I hope it wins some awards, because it’s not going to be popular.”
The series did win awards, including four Emmys. It also racked up a legion of fans who couldn’t get enough of the twisty case—and begged Netflix to give them more. So it was hardly surprising when, seven months after the series first dropped, Netflix confirmed that it had ordered a second season. And now it looks as if we’ll be seeing more of Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, this year. Here’s everything we know about Season 2 of Making a Murderer.
1. IT WILL FOCUS ON THE POST-CONVICTION PROCESS.
When news first broke that Making a Murderer would get a second season, Variety reported that, “This next chapter will provide an in-depth look at the high-stakes post-conviction process, as well as the emotional toll the process takes on all involved.”
2. EVEN BEFORE IT WAS OFFICIALLY RENEWED, LAURA RICCIARDI AND MOIRA DEMOS WERE WORKING ON A SECOND SEASON.
Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos will again be co-directing Making a Murderer. Having spent 10 years working on the first season (without any distribution commitment), Making a Murderer is clearly a passion project for the duo. Even before they were given the official go-ahead for a second season by Netflix, the two were already at work on it.
“I think today marks four weeks since the series launched and what we’ve managed to do in the past four weeks is have several phone calls with Steven Avery which we have recorded with an eye toward including them in future episodes,” Ricciardi told the press at a Television Critics Association event in early 2016. “We have not returned to Wisconsin in the past four weeks.”
“As we said before, in relation to this story, this story is ongoing, these cases are open," Demos added. "It’s real-life so you don’t know what’s going to happen. We are ready … if there are significant developments, we will be there. And we are looking at other stories, as well.”
3. KATHLEEN ZELLNER WILL PLAY AN IMPORTANT PART.
In 2016, Avery hired famed defense attorney Kathleen Zellner—who, according to her website, “has righted more wrongful prosecutions than any private attorney in America” in the past 23 years—to represent him. “When I watched the Avery case, I felt that the attitude toward him by the prosecutors and the state was that he was disposable,” Zellner told Newsweek. “It was almost like a class thing. [His family] didn’t matter, they had no power. The longer I watched it, the more angry I got.”
Since then, Zellner has stated that there is “significant evidence” that proves Avery’s innocence in the murder of Teresa Halbach. So expect her to play a major role in the second season.
4. WE’LL SEE BRENDAN DASSEY’S CONVICTION BE OVERTURNED.
On August 12, 2016, a U.S. District Court judge in Wisconsin overturned the murder conviction of Brendan Dassey, Avery's nephew and alleged accomplice, and it was reported that he’d likely be released from prison approximately 90 days later. In November, just days before he was scheduled to leave prison, his release was blocked by a federal appeals court. Dassey remains behind bars today, and we’ll see this play out in season two—though part of it may be as a mock trial. According to The Independent, because Ricciardi and Demos were not present to see Dassey’s conviction overturned, they’re planning to recreate it for season two.
5. THE NEW SEASON WILL DROP IN 2017.
Though Cindy Holland, Netflix's vice president of original content, confirmed that Making a Murderer’s second season will drop “sometime this year,” that’s as specific as they’re willing to get. "We don’t know when for sure new episodes will be coming," Holland told USA Today. Part of that uncertainty likely has to do with the legal nature of the show, and the fact that both Avery and Dassey's cases are ongoing—so new developments could shape the second season in different ways.
“There are certain things happening with respect to both those cases that we're waiting to take place before we bring it to the world,” Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of original documentary and comedy programming, told The Hollywood Reporter in late 2016. Given that the original season’s popularity was partly attributed to it being released in December—over the holidays, when people had time to binge-watch—don’t be surprised to see season two served up in December.