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Murder On Middle Beach

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Murder on Middle Beach, a four-part documentary series directed by first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg, examines Hamburg’s complicated journey to solve an unspeakable crime and absolve the people he loves while seeking out answers within his own fractured family and community.

The series revolves around the case of Barbara Hamburg, Madison’s mother, who was brutally murdered on March 3, 2010 near her home in the upper-middle class enclave of Madison, Connecticut. Investigators speculated this was a crime of passion, but without sufficient evidence, the case grew cold.

Over the course of eight years, Hamburg interviewed his family members and many others to learn more about his mother’s life and gather evidence in hopes of solving her murder. Along the way, he uncovers a web of familial and local secrets, connections to shadowy figures, and years-old resentments in his deceptively serene hometown.

 

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S1.E1: Mom's Dead

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Following the brutal and unsolved murder of his mother Barbara back in 2010, Madison Hamburg returns to his hometown of Madison, Connecticut to piece together her life story. Through interviews with those who knew Barbara best, Madison dives into his parents' divorce and the unsettling details of his mother's life that were kept under wraps.

Original air date: 11/15/20

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Anyone else watching this docuseries on HBO? Debuted 11/15. Pretty decent mystery so far, although I don't see Madison Hamburg becoming the next Michael Moore. 

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I’m watching! So far so good. The way it’s edited is a little weird but it really holds your interest. It seems to be setting up that it’s one of those murders that never gets solved. But I could be wrong

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I'm not 100% convinced that the dad is the murderer but he certainly isn't doing himself any favors with the things he says (or refuses to say) to his own son. The dad seems like the typical fragile male ego type who can't handle that his wife divorced him and will be forever bitter. The mother of his children is dead and when his estranged son calls to talk about her, all he can muster is "I have nothing to say about her"? Then again, this is the guy who stole money from his own daughter's college fund, so I'm not surprised.

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I wasn't sure about this, but I gave it a chance and I will watch the next episode.  His grandma said it was a school project, and he said it wasn't but then later he said it is... maybe it started that way and turned out to be bigger.  I am kind of hoping the reason his school project is on HBO is because he solves the crime.

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1 hour ago, heatherchandler said:

His grandma said it was a school project, and he said it wasn't but then later he said it is... maybe it started that way and turned out to be bigger. 

I wondered if he maybe told people that he was interviewing them for a school project because it game him a legitimate excuse to ask them questions (which can feel less awkward than just calling your relatives and start poking around). In college, I took a history class where we had to write a family history going back at least two generations. I could have asked my parents and aunts about our relatives at any time in my life, but somehow it was easier when I had the excuse of an assignment.

But it's also very possible that he started out doing this as a school project and then kept going with it. I really hope we find out who murdered his mom by the end of the series!

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I found this compelling. From the date cards it seems to have been in production since 2013, so I suspect it started as something school related and became something bigger than that. For a young amateur(ish) filmmaker to sell this to HBO is pretty interesting.

Dad looks guilty AF.

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Because it's always the husband, I was yelling, "He did it!" the whole time I watched this. He carefully chose his words when talking to Madison when they met at the bar: "I was somewhere else/I can't be placed at the scene/there's no DNA evidence against me." Never "I didn't do it". I fully believe he hired someone to kill Barbara. And no matter how you felt about your ex, IF YOU WERE INNOCENT, why would you not do everything to clear your name?!? He's an extreme narcissist and reminded me so much of my own father. The way he blamed Madison for his own actions—being completely absent from his son's life as if a child/young adult has any power over that dynamic. What a piece of shit.

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17 hours ago, bilgistic said:

The way he blamed Madison for his own actions—being completely absent from his son's life as if a child/young adult has any power over that dynamic.

Obviously murdering your ex-wife (or having her murdered while you are conveniently in court as an alibi) is awful, but I was so offended for Madison when his dad made it sound like Madison was to blame for his (the dad's) absence. His dad is the one who CHOSE not to be there for his kids. Even if Madison told his dad that he didn't want to see him, his dad was the adult and the parent so it was his responsibility to stay a presence in his children's lives no matter how much they tried to push him away. The fact that they mentioned he owed thousands in child support (and alimony) just shows that his absence was completely his choice. I wouldn't be surprised if he withheld that money out of spite to punish his ex-wife.

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8 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Obviously murdering your ex-wife (or having her murdered while you are conveniently in court as an alibi) is awful, but I was so offended for Madison when his dad made it sound like Madison was to blame for his (the dad's) absence. His dad is the one who CHOSE not to be there for his kids. Even if Madison told his dad that he didn't want to see him, his dad was the adult and the parent so it was his responsibility to stay a presence in his children's lives no matter how much they tried to push him away. The fact that they mentioned he owed thousands in child support (and alimony) just shows that his absence was completely his choice. I wouldn't be surprised if he withheld that money out of spite to punish his ex-wife.

Exactly. My mother fought my absentee father—a cop, no less—for YEARS in court to get him to pay child support. She finally was able to have his wages garnished.

Madison's dad pings my radar so loudly!

Edited by bilgistic
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I was pretty engrossed through the first episode despite the feeling HBO is doing what they do - dragging a 90 to 120 minute very good story into a four-part series. If Madison wants to take us on the roller coaster of emotions he's had to go through by planting red flags all around Dad during the first episode, I'll try to be more patient. But it seems like there are some things that don't need to be mysteries in the first 60 minutes, 

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Obviously this lady had a LOT going on.  I give the ex husband this, he was right when he said she was complicated.  He might not be guilty of her murder but he's def guilty of something.  I'd kinda like to know what type of business he's had going on in Europe. 

I must be living a sheltered life because I've never heard of gifting tables.

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2 hours ago, CherryMalotte said:

I must be living a sheltered life because I've never heard of gifting tables.

Neither have I. But man, that bit of the story was wild. Yeah, anytime some gathering involves some ranking that looks suspiciously like a triangle, that should be a pretty huge red flag that it's likely a pyramid scheme. And then the stuff with them wanting to keep it all so hush-hush, and using different words to try and make it seem less questionable...yeah. These women knew. They absolutely knew that this was not exactly on the up and up. 

Jill was really rubbing me the wrong way when she was trying to explain and defend her involvement in all of this. As they were explaining the concept of the gifting tables, I was sitting here thinking, "Okay, but these women all look to be very well off, why do they need to get involved in this? Other than because they simply want more money, of course." And then Jill explains that she got involved because she needed to pay for her husband's health insurance, and was talking about the 2008 crash and recession. Which, okay, except a) again, if you've got $5,000, even in that environment, to plop down in this scheme, then it's hard to take the, "People were struggling" argument all that seriously. My family was having a lot of issues with my dad's health around that time, too, and I guarantee you we sure as hell didn't have $5,000 to spare. If we had that, we would've probably been in a little better place and would've been putting that towards helping pay my dad's medical bills instead of, y'know, giving it to random people in the hopes we'll get something back out of it. And we're solidly lower class, something which, again, these women clearly weren't. 

And b) if they knew that people were struggling that much because of the crash and the recession, then why were they asking so many women to take out mortgages on their homes, or sell stuff or whatever in order to get the money to join? That's a risky as hell thing for anyone to do in general, and even more so at a time when the country is suffering through that kind of financial crisis and you're asking them to get involved in a thing that, as I see it, is just a way for people to pass money around and get richer. So that argument falls apart pretty fast.

(Also, given how they didn't want their husbands to know about this little group, well, the guys are probably going to be curious when their wives magically now have money to pay for things they were struggling to pay for before, like health insurance, or house payments, or whatever. How exactly did these women plan to explain the sudden influx of cash away?)

And then the stuff with recruiting AA members. Sounds very much to me like they knew these people would be vulnerable, desperate, and perhaps not exercising the best judgment, and they took great advantage of that, which is pretty freaking scummy. I find it hilarious how offended and shocked they started getting when these women started calling them out on these scams and reporting them and whatnot. Yes, get women who are just coming off of struggles with alcohol and fighting to get sober involved in your money scheme, one that clearly has increasingly diminishing returns for them and is asking them to make a whole lot of sacrifices in the process. What could possibly go wrong?

Sheesh. What did you think would happen, geniuses? 

Then Jill's haughty tone when she was all, "Don't you have real crimes to investigate?" when the agents came to her house. She and that Donna had a real "I want to speak to the manager!" vibe about them. Also, speaking of Donna, I was twitching when they showed those e-mails of hers and I saw all the spelling errors."Misdemeaner". Really? 

I also find it rather timely that this pyramid scheme was being busted around the time everyone was learning about Bernie Madoff. Boy, white collar crime investigators were awfully busy for a few years there with this stuff, weren't they? 

On 11/20/2020 at 10:35 AM, bilgistic said:

Because it's always the husband, I was yelling, "He did it!" the whole time I watched this. He carefully chose his words when talking to Madison when they met at the bar: "I was somewhere else/I can't be placed at the scene/there's no DNA evidence against me." Never "I didn't do it". I fully believe he hired someone to kill Barbara.

YES. This. I kept noticing that, too. Very careful choice of words, indeed. I was also amused, in the first episode, at how he started ranting about how Barbara was involved in all this shady stuff, and then he goes, "I don't want to get too much into this, I don't want to speak ill of the dead". Uh, okay, except you kind of just did, but whatever. And then right after that he was talking about how all the stuff she was involved in affected him. No mention of the impact it had on the kids, the family as a whole, anything like that. It was all about how he was impacted. 

Also, considering the story about his own little scandal at his business, and, as noted elsewhere, the fact he stole from his daughter's college fund, he has zero room to be getting on any kind of high horse and judging someone else. Sounds like he and Barbara were both involved in some pretty questionable stuff that affected their family. It makes me feel even worse for Madison and his sister. Especially since they're just now learning about so much of this, all these years later. 

I definitely agree that it looks like whomever killed Barbara knew her, and knew the layout of the house and how to get there. So that should narrow the list of suspects pretty significantly-it's either a friend or her husband, one of the two. And if they didn't kill her themselves, they likely hired someone to do it. 

Edited by Annber03
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I think the gifting table stuff is just a red herring. I still believe the ex-husband/Madison's father is responsible for the murder. It's just TOO much of a coincidence that she was murdered the very day she was supposed to be awarded support money from the ex. 

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Even if at first these women thought the table was a fun game, at some point they did know they were running a scam. I feel for Madison struggling to understand his mother as a scammer as it is pretty obvious they knew what they were doing by the time they reached the dessert table. 

Scams like these often start small, maybe the first tables had lower buy-ins to test the waters. There is a gifting one that goes around each holiday season and you gift one $50 gift card and expect 6 back. I called a cousin out on it and she said, well if she didn’t get anything back she can feel the joy in giving. So I told to gift to a real charity instead then, rather than gift to a scammer. She was offended that I thought such gifting games were scams, it was just women having fun. Sounds a lot like Jill’s BS but with a couple less zeros.

The ex seems like a jerk but there were lots of sides to Barbara it seems. 

Edited by fountain
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Madison's dad must have been thrilled when he found out about the gifting table scandal so that he could point to that as the motive for his ex-wife's murder and shift the blame away from his shady ass.

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On 11/23/2020 at 12:42 PM, iMonrey said:

I think the gifting table stuff is just a red herring. I still believe the ex-husband/Madison's father is responsible for the murder. It's just TOO much of a coincidence that she was murdered the very day she was supposed to be awarded support money from the ex. 

This is exactly it. I watched the whole second episode and said, "It's still the ex-husband."

The cops are something else, wanting Madison's footage/interviews. Fuck off. You didn't do your job to solve his mother's murder. He's not going to do it for you. I wanted to yank Madison out of that police station through my TV screen. He owes them nothing.

The authorities sure did jump on a bunch of bored housewives not paying taxes, though!

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6 hours ago, bilgistic said:

The cops are something else, wanting Madison's footage/interviews. Fuck off. You didn't do your job to solve his mother's murder. He's not going to do it for you. I wanted to yank Madison out of that police station through my TV screen. He owes them nothing.

But I love that Madison is using that as an excuse to go to the police station to pretend to cooperate so that he can try to get more information from them.

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On 11/23/2020 at 1:54 AM, Annber03 said:

Neither have I. But man, that bit of the story was wild. Yeah, anytime some gathering involves some ranking that looks suspiciously like a triangle, that should be a pretty huge red flag that it's likely a pyramid scheme. And then the stuff with them wanting to keep it all so hush-hush, and using different words to try and make it seem less questionable...yeah. These women knew. They absolutely knew that this was not exactly on the up and up. 

Jill was really rubbing me the wrong way when she was trying to explain and defend her involvement in all of this. As they were explaining the concept of the gifting tables, I was sitting here thinking, "Okay, but these women all look to be very well off, why do they need to get involved in this? Other than because they simply want more money, of course." And then Jill explains that she got involved because she needed to pay for her husband's health insurance, and was talking about the 2008 crash and recession. Which, okay, except a) again, if you've got $5,000, even in that environment, to plop down in this scheme, then it's hard to take the, "People were struggling" argument all that seriously. My family was having a lot of issues with my dad's health around that time, too, and I guarantee you we sure as hell didn't have $5,000 to spare. If we had that, we would've probably been in a little better place and would've been putting that towards helping pay my dad's medical bills instead of, y'know, giving it to random people in the hopes we'll get something back out of it. And we're solidly lower class, something which, again, these women clearly weren't. 

And b) if they knew that people were struggling that much because of the crash and the recession, then why were they asking so many women to take out mortgages on their homes, or sell stuff or whatever in order to get the money to join? That's a risky as hell thing for anyone to do in general, and even more so at a time when the country is suffering through that kind of financial crisis and you're asking them to get involved in a thing that, as I see it, is just a way for people to pass money around and get richer. So that argument falls apart pretty fast.

(Also, given how they didn't want their husbands to know about this little group, well, the guys are probably going to be curious when their wives magically now have money to pay for things they were struggling to pay for before, like health insurance, or house payments, or whatever. How exactly did these women plan to explain the sudden influx of cash away?)

And then the stuff with recruiting AA members. Sounds very much to me like they knew these people would be vulnerable, desperate, and perhaps not exercising the best judgment, and they took great advantage of that, which is pretty freaking scummy. I find it hilarious how offended and shocked they started getting when these women started calling them out on these scams and reporting them and whatnot. Yes, get women who are just coming off of struggles with alcohol and fighting to get sober involved in your money scheme, one that clearly has increasingly diminishing returns for them and is asking them to make a whole lot of sacrifices in the process. What could possibly go wrong?

Sheesh. What did you think would happen, geniuses? 

Then Jill's haughty tone when she was all, "Don't you have real crimes to investigate?" when the agents came to her house. She and that Donna had a real "I want to speak to the manager!" vibe about them. Also, speaking of Donna, I was twitching when they showed those e-mails of hers and I saw all the spelling errors."Misdemeaner". Really? 

I also find it rather timely that this pyramid scheme was being busted around the time everyone was learning about Bernie Madoff. Boy, white collar crime investigators were awfully busy for a few years there with this stuff, weren't they? 

YES. This. I kept noticing that, too. Very careful choice of words, indeed. I was also amused, in the first episode, at how he started ranting about how Barbara was involved in all this shady stuff, and then he goes, "I don't want to get too much into this, I don't want to speak ill of the dead". Uh, okay, except you kind of just did, but whatever. And then right after that he was talking about how all the stuff she was involved in affected him. No mention of the impact it had on the kids, the family as a whole, anything like that. It was all about how he was impacted. 

Also, considering the story about his own little scandal at his business, and, as noted elsewhere, the fact he stole from his daughter's college fund, he has zero room to be getting on any kind of high horse and judging someone else. Sounds like he and Barbara were both involved in some pretty questionable stuff that affected their family. It makes me feel even worse for Madison and his sister. Especially since they're just now learning about so much of this, all these years later. 

I definitely agree that it looks like whomever killed Barbara knew her, and knew the layout of the house and how to get there. So that should narrow the list of suspects pretty significantly-it's either a friend or her husband, one of the two. And if they didn't kill her themselves, they likely hired someone to do it. 

Two words came to mind with the gifting table and some of these ladies attitudes. "Rich Bitches".

8 hours ago, bilgistic said:

This is exactly it. I watched the whole second episode and said, "It's still the ex-husband."

The cops are something else, wanting Madison's footage/interviews. Fuck off. You didn't do your job to solve his mother's murder. He's not going to do it for you. I wanted to yank Madison out of that police station through my TV screen. He owes them nothing.

The authorities sure did jump on a bunch of bored housewives not paying taxes, though!

Glad they went to jail. Pyramid schemes are illegal. They were full of shit acting all innocent. Come ON!!

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17 hours ago, chediavolo said:

Glad they went to jail. Pyramid schemes are illegal. They were full of shit acting all innocent. Come ON!!

The only actual thing the authorities cared about was the women not paying taxes. Literally every multi-level marketing company—and there are hundreds of them—is a pyramid scheme and they're multi-million-dollar-plus companies. The authorities look the other way because they ostensibly pay taxes.

Barbara was shitty to prey on her AA contacts, for sure.

I think Madison's father/Barbara's ex-husband (why can't I remember his name?) has an in with the cops and he got the fire lit under the investigation into the gifting tables and that's also how he has avoided being charged with Barbara's murder.

Edited by bilgistic
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I had to re-watch this one because I was confused by the ending. I hate to say it but it's not a very well-produced documentary. (Sorry, Madison.) There are voice-overs and narration from unidentified speakers and the family tree is a bit confusing. There was also a shot of Madison reading a letter or e-mail and it wasn't clear who it was from or to unless you hit the pause button to see it. I didn't see the point of him including the footage with his girlfriend either, it seemed awfully gratuitous, as though he just wanted her to be in it.

Still interested in the mystery, but not overly hopeful it's going to be solved. (Or that Madison has much of a future as a documentarian.)

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7 hours ago, iMonrey said:

it's not a very well-produced documentary. (Sorry, Madison.)

I agree. The mystery is why I’m watching but the documentary itself is not great. Someone else needed to run interference  with Madison and edit this A LOT better. 

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On 11/25/2020 at 5:19 AM, chediavolo said:

Glad they went to jail. Pyramid schemes are illegal. They were full of shit acting all innocent. Come ON!!

This!  I mean how do you just get “gifted” money and no Tupperware or makeup or MLM branded toilet paper in sight!?  It was a scheme.

I still think it was the dad.  The timing near the court case seems too convenient.  I would like to see resolution but I don’t think we’ll get it either.  

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On 11/23/2020 at 1:54 AM, Annber03 said:

hen Jill's haughty tone when she was all, "Don't you have real crimes to investigate?" when the agents came to her house. 

So I'm a Federal Agent and my investigations are mostly white collar in nature-scams, schemes, ect.  Jill's attitude is what we deal with constantly.  Almost every person we arrest or investigate have that attitude-don't you have anything better to do?  These people are narcissists who fail to recognize that their actions hurt other people.  Jill didn't care about the people in AA or even her sister.  She even said on camera-"her sister couldn't bring in more people".  She showed no remorse at all.  She kept on talking about women supporting women.  Bullshit.

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2 hours ago, ccphilly said:

So I'm a Federal Agent and my investigations are mostly white collar in nature-scams, schemes, ect.  Jill's attitude is what we deal with constantly.  Almost every person we arrest or investigate have that attitude-don't you have anything better to do?

Ha, I can imagine, yeah. Rich people don't often tend to take well to being reminded that the law applies to them, too, no :p.

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These people are narcissists who fail to recognize that their actions hurt other people.  Jill didn't care about the people in AA or even her sister.  She even said on camera-"her sister couldn't bring in more people".  She showed no remorse at all.  She kept on talking about women supporting women.  Bullshit.

This! How are you supporting women by taking money from people who you know full well need it more than you do? If they really cared about these women, they could've used these gatherings to raise money and gather donations, or depending on how friendly they were with the women from AA, they could've asked if there was anything they could do to help them, either financially or otherwise, or things of that sort. Let the secrecy of the meetings be because they want these women to have a safe place to get whatever extra help they need without shame or judgment, and not because they're trying to cover something up. 

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On 11/25/2020 at 3:24 PM, iMonrey said:

I hate to say it but it's not a very well-produced documentary. (Sorry, Madison.) There are voice-overs and narration from unidentified speakers and the family tree is a bit confusing. There was also a shot of Madison reading a letter or e-mail and it wasn't clear who it was from or to unless you hit the pause button to see it. I didn't see the point of him including the footage with his girlfriend either, it seemed awfully gratuitous, as though he just wanted her to be in it.

Disagree. I still think it's pretty compelling, if not for the true crime aspect but from the personal angle. Like most documentaries in this genre it suffers a bit from jumping around and not being clear on timelines but I like the personal stuff (the girlfriend, for example). It emphasizes the nature of the story. This guy evidently worked on the documentary for almost a decade and you can see the care that went into it.

Dad's still guilty AF.

Edited by pfk505
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9 hours ago, pfk505 said:

Disagree. I still think it's pretty compelling, if not for the true crime aspect but from the personal angle. Like most documentaries in this genre it suffers a bit from jumping around and not being clear on timelines but I like the personal stuff (the girlfriend, for example). It emphasizes the nature of the story. This guy evidently worked on the documentary for almost a decade and you can see the care that went into it.

I agree. I think the story is interesting and while there is a bit of confusion on timelines and people sometimes, overall, I think it's a good first effort. I'm not confused about who, what, when like I was in other HBO documentaries coughTheVowcough, that are produced by professionals.

I feel badly for Madison because I bet he had no idea of the shit his mother was up to and so was probably unprepared for what he's learned. As for Jill, Conway, Barbara, Dona, etc. - I'm sorry, but if you are hiding cash in the freezer or burying it in a hole in the ground, you know what you're doing is wrong, not a fun game to uplift women.

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On 11/24/2020 at 11:50 PM, bilgistic said:

This is exactly it. I watched the whole second episode and said, "It's still the ex-husband."

The cops are something else, wanting Madison's footage/interviews. Fuck off. You didn't do your job to solve his mother's murder. He's not going to do it for you. I wanted to yank Madison out of that police station through my TV screen. He owes them nothing.

The authorities sure did jump on a bunch of bored housewives not paying taxes, though!

What they did is no different than Bernie Madoff.  They absolutely all knew it was a scam. How cousin you NOT? If it seems too good to be true, etc etc. 

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S1.E3: Sisters

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Barbara's sister shares her history with substance abuse; Madison is shaken by an accusation against a family member; Conway and Ali offer their accounts of the morning they discovered Barbara's body; Madison consults a private investigator.

Original air date: 11/29/20

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Well! We've gone from the theory that Madison's dad killed his mom, to Madison learning that his parents were each involved in some financial schemes and crimes-his dad had that whole thing at his business, and his mom, along with his aunts, were part of that gifting tables pyramid scheme, and now he's finding out that his aunt Conway was not only living with a pimp when she was struggling with drugs and alcohol, but tried to hire a hit man to take out Madison and his family as revenge for (rightly) losing custody of her son. And then she points the finger at Madison's sister and suspects her of murdering Barbara.

Good freaking lord, what a mess.  

I agree with Madison that I don't think his sister killed their mom, though. The idea of someone killing a parent only to go to school afterward isn't so unusual in and of itself, simply because I've heard of a couple of examples where people actually did just that. But he makes a good point about her struggling to carry her mom's body. And if she did tell Conway, when they arrived at the house, "Don't touch that, that's a crime scene!"...I mean, if I saw my mom's purse and keys scattered about the yard, and her car's there, but there's no sign of her and she doesn't come when I call for her, and there's a statue tipped over and broken, maybe I wouldn't automatically be like, "Oh, crime scene!", exactly, but I would immediately be thinking, "...okay, something's not right here." I think a lot of people would come to that conclusion.

There's no question Ali and her mom had issues, of course. Name me a mother and teenage daughter who don't. And in this case especially, with all the general family chaos going on and the divorce (I can maybe see wanting to just rip off the Band-Aid and get it over with, but announcing your divorce to your kids on Christmas Day is just...yeouch. Most parents generally try and wait until after the holidays to spring that kind of nasty news on their children), and then Ali having a bunch of health issues, physical, mental, and emotional, yeah. it's no surprise they would've gone through quite the rough patch for a time there. 

But I believe her version of events of that day, and I just don't see her being able to carry out a murder like that. I feel like if she really wanted to kill her mom, she would've found a much simpler way to do so. 

I was also really bugged by the way their dad kept talking about Ali and the whole borderline personality disorder thing. Ali kept talking about how controlling her dad was, and how he would say whatever he could to try and turn Aii against her mom, and things of that sort, and I think his comments about her here were a prime example of that in action. The way he talked about his daughter wasn't too dissimilar to the way he's been talking about Barbara. 

Honestly, Conway came off a little odd to me when she was reliving what happened the day she found her sister. Her description of how she found the cushions, and her whole, "God told me to keep going" or whatever it was she said, all just felt kinda...performative? And then, of course, the fact that she openly admitted she'd once considered hiring a hit man to take out her sister and her family doesn't help matters, either (and then her comment about carrying around a hammer after her sister's murder, despite the fact that was the same weapon they believe Barbara was attacked with-that was a really weird, creepy moment). I don't think she killed her, and I agree with Madison that she may well genuinely believe all she's saying. But I think her attempts to try and point the finger at Ali tend to highlight some of the ways people described her. She's still got a lot of trust issues and things of that sort that I don't think she ever fully resolved with Barbara and her family, and I think that's affecting her judgment of them. If that makes sense.

On a lighter note, I liked the moment when Madison met the woman who now lives in his old home. It was nice to see them bonding as they did, and her being willing to be a sounding board for Madison. 

Clearly this family was having a lot of problems before Barbara's death, to where it just further accelerated the decline, but it's really amazing, and sad, to see just how badly a family can fracture after someone dies. No happy family reunions here, that's for damn sure. 

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It's horrible enough to know that your mother was murdered but knowing that several people in the family suspect other people in the family of doing it just makes it even worse. I can't imagine what it's like to be part of that family (my family has its issues but at least no one thinks that anyone has murdered another one of us).

When Madison and his sister said that their parents told them they were getting divorced, all I could think about was how Chandler on Friends hated Thanksgiving for the rest of his life for the same reason. What kind of parents decide that any holiday is the best time to break that news to their children? Like they seriously couldn't have waited a few more weeks and told them in January? If that's the kind of decision that his parents were making, it's no wonder that everything else was a mess. That's some piss poor judgment right there. Way to ruin Christmas for your kids at least once (if not forever).

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11 hours ago, Annber03 said:

But I believe her version of events of that day, and I just don't see her being able to carry out a murder like that. I feel like if she really wanted to kill her mom, she would've found a much simpler way to do so. 

 

I still lean towards the dad, especially with the way that he's been trying to throw everyone else under the bus; the alcoholics and druggies that Barbara knew, her sisters, her aunt, and now Madison's sister. But I am really appreciating that Madison has done this deep dive into the other possibles and things that were going on in Barb's life. There are other theories of this crime than "the husband did it" and from a viewing perspective I'm glad of that. After episode one I wondered how he could maintain any narrative tension given how obvious it seemed. 

Now, after three episodes there are scenarios that I could believe other than the husband. With the sister one thing that makes me think it might have been her was the cushions that were used to conceal the body. That just seems like something a kid would do - cover it up when they realize what they've done. Not that other killers don't try to conceal, but the cushions just strike me as immature thinking. I may be influenced by another crime where a pair of teenage twin sisters murdered their mom and then went calmly to school. 

Though there are random murders, when it involves someone the victim knew? Always find that there was so much more bubbling under the surface than anyone would ever have guessed. 

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I'm starting to change my mind and suspect it was someone who lost their money in the gifting table scam. Now that they've walked us through the crime scene, it seems apparent that it was someone who came up to the front door and knocked. Clearly Barbara answered the door with a cup of coffee in her hands. I don't think the husband, the sister or the daughter would have knocked on the front door if they'd come there to kill her.  From the way it was laid out, it appeared there was a confrontation at the front porch which continued on towards the front of the yard near the road where Barbara was ultimately killed. This looks like an argument that escalated with Barbara following whoever it was as they walked away towards their car. And then the murderer dragged the body over to the side of the house so it wouldn't be seen from the road by anyone passing by. That would explain why the body was hidden yet there was no attempt at cleanup near the front door. Whoever did it just didn't want passers-by to spot the body.

That said, the ex-husband is still sketchy as hell. All the descriptions of how controlling he is fits every Dateline murder profile I've ever seen. Conway is a real piece of work too.

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I don’t think someone came to the door, because her keys and purse were outside. I still believe it happened when she came home from dropping her daughter off at school. Ally said she had to wake her mom up to drive her, and her mom drove her in her pajamas. I can see her mom bringing a cup of coffee for the drive if she had just been woken up. Then when she got home, if the killer was waiting for her, it would make sense that her keys, purse, and coffee cup would be the things dropped from her hands in the struggle.

I still think it was the husband, although Conway is creepy as hell. However, doesn’t the husband’s alibi hold up that he was in court? I had wondered initially if he had hired someone to kill her, but the private investigator said the rage and then the cushions pointed to a personal relationship. Could he have killed her in the early morning before making it to court on time? If not, I’m switching my “vote” to someone in that messed up extended family, but definitely not Ally.

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Agree that the dad is guilty AF. These guys are always the ones who think they are the smartest guys in the room. Just his answers to Madison, compared to the answers of the aunt, etc. Totally guilty! I bet he hired someone so he could honestly say, "I never touched her."

 

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I had wondered initially if he had hired someone to kill her, but the private investigator said the rage and then the cushions pointed to a personal relationship.

I don't know that I believe all that "it must have been personal, because RAGE" hooey. Sounds like a lot of armchair psychology to me. If someone I considered trustworthy conned me out of my life savings, I'd have plenty of rage against them, regardless of whether or not we had a close personal relationship. 

Barbara apparently recruited a lot of these people from her AA group. I can imagine one of them might have gone on a bender if they'd found out they'd been scammed.

That said, the ex-husband is still right up there on the list of suspects. However, it felt like the police were steering Madison towards Conway during their questioning. 

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Wow, this family...I feel bad for Madison and his sister.  Conway and the father talk about how the sister behaved, but no one is taking responsibility for her abuse.  Conway has a sad story, but I want to tell her to eff all the way off.  She left me a little cold.  Sad that there’s reasonable doubt because there are so many potential suspects.  

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1 hour ago, For Cereals said:

Wow, this family...I feel bad for Madison and his sister.  Conway and the father talk about how the sister behaved, but no one is taking responsibility for her abuse.  Conway has a sad story, but I want to tell her to eff all the way off.  She left me a little cold.  Sad that there’s reasonable doubt because there are so many potential suspects.  

YES. I was in tears watching this episode. Talking shit to your CHILD about their other parent is abusive. No single adult in that family has taken any responsibility for the generations of alcoholism and drug abuse and toxic behavior, and that is abusive. Madison and Ali's father putting Ali's behavior as a teenager off on her when no one was getting her any real help is disgusting. I have borderline personality disorder; it's usually directly caused by childhood trauma. Fuck their dad for blaming her for the trauma he inflicted.

Conway is a MESS. She says she tried to look out for Barbara, but when was that? When she was homeless or living with other people in her family? Again, this toxicity is learned from her father/parents, but the way she talked about Ali was repulsive.

I still think the father killed Barbara, but Conway looks hella shady.

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17 hours ago, bilgistic said:

Madison and Ali's father putting Ali's behavior as a teenager off on her when no one was getting her any real help is disgusting. I have borderline personality disorder; it's usually directly caused by childhood trauma. Fuck their dad for blaming her for the trauma he inflicted.

Yeah, I kept yelling at them for not getting her some dang therapy.

I also still think the dad did it.

 

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Honestly Jill scares me. Anyone else? She’s cold as ice and her reaction when talking about how her family walked away from her when she was prosecuted — “They’re all just ignorant.” Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The family was so so fucked up for lots of reasons... but Jill married into that mess, no? And now she’s PISSED OFF. 

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On 11/30/2020 at 5:34 PM, iMonrey said:

I don't know that I believe all that "it must have been personal, because RAGE" hooey. Sounds like a lot of armchair psychology to me. If someone I considered trustworthy conned me out of my life savings, I'd have plenty of rage against them, regardless of whether or not we had a close personal relationship. 

Barbara apparently recruited a lot of these people from her AA group. I can imagine one of them might have gone on a bender if they'd found out they'd been scammed.

That said, the ex-husband is still right up there on the list of suspects. However, it felt like the police were steering Madison towards Conway during their questioning. 

Yeah, I think TV conditions us to believe stuff like that but really it's probably not so cut and dried as "hit with a hammer=personal relationship" and "hidden under cushions = can't face what they did in a moment of rage!" Conway herself says when she was drunk she was trying to hire a hitman. Maybe one of the many people scammed at the gifting tables had a similar break. Clearly they were starting to take pretty big risks bringing unknown, potentially desperate people into their homes to try to scam them out of money they didn't have.

I can't say if the dad did it but he manages to make himself worse in every episode. Checking the daughter's homework and then taking the door off her bedroom so she can't "shut him out of her life?" I was honestly shocked she ever wanted to live with him even after he was apparently spending weeks making her hate her mother. At least she went back home. And all his talk about her BPD frankly just sounded like another way of undermining anything she might say and gaslighting her--oh, she's got this illness so if she says anything against me it's because she just has this crazy thing in her mind that makes her hate one person and then the other for no reason. Did I mention how sometimes she just hated her mom? Like out of nowhere? Even one time, oh yeah, wanted to KILL HER? What an asshole. Always with that tone like he's the only sensible person in the situation and he can explain why every single woman in the story is mentally incapable of telling the truth about anything.

Not sure what to make of Conway's version of her, exactly, but I could believe her hearing Allie mouth off to her mother at some point and exaggerating it into her terrorizing her mother every day and scaring everyone so they all lived in fear of her. Even the aunt who hired a hitman to kill the victim and both her children.

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I am enjoying this doc. It is a different style than many docs but some of the differences are the appeal. Madison does a good job of questioning people who are talking shit about his immediate family. He seems to be getting things from them that you would think they would want to hide. He even hugs these relatives who are doing things like saying they were going to hire a hit man to kill you. He seems to remain objective through all this, showing both the good and bad of his parents, sister and himself.

This family is a piece of work. There are so many skeletons.

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I haven’t watched the third episode yet but I definitely admire how patient Madison was about this whole thing. I know he took at least a few years break at some point but he eventually got stuff out of his dad which was impressive.

Who names one child Conway and then gives their other siblings normal names?  And how many Barbaras does a family need?

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2 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

I can't say if the dad did it but he manages to make himself worse in every episode. Checking the daughter's homework and then taking the door off her bedroom so she can't "shut him out of her life?" I was honestly shocked she ever wanted to live with him even after he was apparently spending weeks making her hate her mother. At least she went back home. And all his talk about her BPD frankly just sounded like another way of undermining anything she might say and gaslighting her--oh, she's got this illness so if she says anything against me it's because she just has this crazy thing in her mind that makes her hate one person and then the other for no reason. Did I mention how sometimes she just hated her mom? Like out of nowhere? Even one time, oh yeah, wanted to KILL HER? What an asshole. Always with that tone like he's the only sensible person in the situation and he can explain why every single woman in the story is mentally incapable of telling the truth about anything.

The dad has definitely painted himself as the kind of misogynistic asshole who always says "my crazy ex." You know he's the kind of person who thinks that women be crazy and that's why his life is so fucked up. He never stops to think that his own behavior is to blame. He's the kind of guy who goes to bars and tells strangers about the time his crazy ex blew up his boat and conveniently leaves out the part where he threw her out of the house and refused to pay alimony and she got fed up with him being a vindictive asshole (for the record, I'm not saying that Barb blew up his boat or even that there was even a boat to blow up in the first place) or regales his coworkers with "funny" anecdotes about how his ex threw a vase at his head while neglecting to tell them that the reason she threw said vase was that she found out he'd been cheating on her with her best friend. You know, THAT guy.

And that's why it was no surprise that he had such a shitty attitude about his own daughter. Instead of being concerned about her BPD, he was using it as an excuse as to why you shouldn't take anything she says seriously. She switched from hating her mom to hating her dad because of BPD. It had nothing to do with the fact that he took the door off its hinges or the fact that he made her redo her homework every night. And I'm sure it has nothing to do with him stealing money from her college fund. On a related note: I did wonder how an unemployed high school graduate managed to travel so much.

The fights that Conway described between Ali and Barb sounded like typical teenage girl stuff crossed with Ali being a brat. I can't imagine calling my mom and then my aunt in the middle of the day to tell them that I wanted to leave school for no reason. Ali may have been a bratty, demanding teenager but that doesn't mean she murdered her mom. I think that Conway absolutely believes everything she says, but she seems like the kind of person who is a shit stirrer who creates drama wherever she goes. And somehow Conway thought it was okay to run away from home, prostitute herself, do drugs, and then move in with her sister (after hiring a hitman to murder said sister along with her niece and nephew) but she draws the line at teenage Ali telling her mom to fuck off.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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