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The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst

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Episode Synopsis:

 

A six-part profile of Robert Durst, the scion of a wealthy New York real-estate family who has been accused of three murders over three decades, but never convicted, begins with the discovery of a dismembered body in Texas in 2001 and its possible connection to Durst. In 2012, Durst contacts director Andrew Jarecki about an interview.

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Ultimate catnip. Just the synopsis made me swoon, and Sarah's article might have broken my Serial/Fatal Vision/Dateline/In Cold Blood-loving brain.

 

I hear that.

 

The last thing my addicted brain needs is for this shit to go legit.

Edited by runforcover
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To be honest I really do enjoy the cheesy narration and lunatic hosts of network true crime shows, but I was able to get into the style of this show.  Is that female Prosecutor a famous talking head?  She reminded me of that HLN host.  I wonder how revealing the interviews will be in the head.  

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Robert Durst discusses witnessing his mother's suicide when he was a child and his 1973 marriage to Kathleen McCormack, who disappeared in 1982.

 

 

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Jeanine Pirro was poised to run for the U.S. Senate (against Hillary Clinton, I think) and fairly famously melted down. I think there is scandal in her past too--having to do with her husband? But the highlight for me was when she was giving a campaign speech and a page of the text was missing and, mid-speech, she looked around and was like, "Where's page 6." She never really recovered from that.

I'd love to know why the wife couldn't remember when they were married.

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I'd love to know why the wife couldn't remember when they were married.

Especially when it was less than a year before and she didn't even say the actual say the day! Though when officers provided the actual date, I wish she would have replied "if you knew why did you ask me?"

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I just ordered The Staircase from the library, so thanks for name checking it.  I can't remember if I've seen it or wanted to see it.

 

I loved how sassy the wife was during her interviews.  I have a life goal of being a really sarcastic hostile witness in a murder trial one day.

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I loved how sassy the wife was during her interviews.  I have a life goal of being a really sarcastic hostile witness in a murder trial one day.

Ha! I got a kick out of that, too. Debrah (and her shit stirring re: Durst's family) is fascinating in her own right. I wonder if Jarecki got an interview with her.

 

I was torn about watching The Jinx. On one hand, having grown up in Mt. Vernon (just a stone's throw from Yonkers [David Berkowitz/Son of Sam] and Scarsdale) in the '70s and '80s, I'm still curious about the case. On the other hand, a chunk of years writing cover copy for true crime books was more than enough exposure to make me avoid it as entertainment (a notable exception being the 100% awesome, Paul Winfield-era City Confidential).

 

Anyway, I watched it, because: HBO (and Jarecki/Capturing the Friedmans). Sarah's write-up is an excellent analysis of why it works. And although I'm already beginning to have a creepy feeling about enjoying the artistry of The Jinx, I know I won't be able to look away until the series is done.

Edited by spaceghostess
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(a notable exception being the 100% awesome, Paul Winfield-era City Confidential).

 

OMG, I LOVED the Paul Winfield-era City Confidential! It was so perfect! I still watched with Keith David, but it changed just a bit.

 

Yes, this show captured me from almost the first moment, and I know a lot about this story. Looking forward to getting some righteous use out of my brother's HBOGo account over the next few weeks!

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Jeanine Pirro was poised to run for the U.S. Senate (against Hillary Clinton, I think) and fairly famously melted down. I think there is scandal in her past too--having to do with her husband? But the highlight for me was when she was giving a campaign speech and a page of the text was missing and, mid-speech, she looked around and was like, "Where's page 6." She never really recovered from that.

Here y'go:

Re: The Jinx - I'm in.

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I loved watching The Staircase, and this, reminds me very much of that.  I am hooked!

Thank You!

 

Any of you have any other recommendations? PM me if you think it's off-topic :)

Ha! I got a kick out of that, too. Debrah (and her shit stirring re: Durst's family) is fascinating in her own right. I wonder if Jarecki got an interview with her.

 

I was torn about watching The Jinx. On one hand, having grown up in Mt. Vernon (just a stone's throw from Yonkers [David Berkowitz/Son of Sam] and Scarsdale) in the '70s and '80s, I'm still curious about the case. On the other hand, a chunk of years writing cover copy for true crime books was more than enough exposure to make me avoid it as entertainment (a notable exception being the 100% awesome, Paul Winfield-era City Confidential).

 

Anyway, I watched it, because: HBO (and Jarecki/Capturing the Friedmans). Sarah's write-up is an excellent analysis of why it works. And although I'm already beginning to have a creepy feeling about enjoying the artistry of The Jinx, I know I won't be able to look away until the series is done.

Yeah, Jarecki weirdly insinuates himself in these stories.  But the stories are pretty awesome.

 

City Confidential was my Sunday morning treadmill go-to back in the day.  

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Ok, after 7 hours of The Staircase, I need to reconsider the costs of this genre - I can't unsee that and I spent all night thinking about "the owl" that "did it."  I don't know what's creepier, the truth or the lie.

 

Here's a sleep-ruiner: The Impostor

Edited by runforcover
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Maybe we could take recommendations into it's own thread or small talk?  There's a lot on Netflix or true crime books that wouldn't really deserve their own thread.

 

I'm looking forward to episode two more than anything else on TV tonight.  Hopefully this catches on like Serial and the threads become more active.

Edited by Morbs
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Totally agree about the cinematic quality of the reenactments. As much as the Slow-Fade-to-Black-From-Home-Movie-Shot-or-Photo-of-Deceased-Person choice may be cliche, I think I would have preferred it to his mom's loooong fall from the roof (as beautifully rendered as it was). I did, however, like the Amadeus and Annie posters at the Katonah MetroNorth station. Spot-on for that year.

 

I find Durst's face in these interviews queasily fascinating. The fact that I can't distinguish between his pupils and his irises is weird enough; add the eye twitches, and yeesh. And yes, I cracked up just a little bit at his forthrightness about how much less he could care about holding a conversation with anyone in Kathie's family. I mean, don't soft soap it, Bob.

 

And finally: Half-ass it much, Detective Struk of the NYPD?

Edited by spaceghostess
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Speaking of reenactments, it totally took me out of it when they had a sparkly new 2010s-era metro north train pulling into the train station in Katonah. As someone who was still riding those janky patchwork 1970s trains well into the 2000s (and they still run on parts of the line from Southeast up to Wassaic, trust me), I don't understand why they couldn't strive for some era-appropriate realism there.

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As someone who was still riding those janky patchwork 1970s trains well into the 2000s (and they still run on parts of the line from Southeast up to Wassaic, trust me), I don't understand why they couldn't strive for some era-appropriate realism there.

Ha--yes!

Remember the flippable seats (in the really old ones; before the shiny vinyl bucket seats that came later)? I actually liked those bench seats; no head rests, but riding in one felt like being in an old movie, which was fun.

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The re-enactments on the cheesier shows on ID Discovery drive me crazy, and I usually don't watch those ones, but these re-enactments are pretty unintrusive to me and almost elegant.

 

I'm not sure what his motivation is for doing this interview, has he just completely lost his mind at this point?  Does he enjoy the mystique of being a free killer?  His ticks make it seem like he is extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera.

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That's an interesting question, since he has nothing to gain legally from speaking publicly about any of this. He seemed to express that he wants to be heard in what he judges as a more objective manner. Is he banking that Jarecki won't give him the complete "villain" edit someone else would? Then again, why would a misanthrope like him give a crap what anyone else thinks? Or maybe the whole exercise is simply in service to his narcissism; he got away with murder(s) and now he's a star on HBO.

 

His ticks make it seem like he is extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera.

He seems uncomfortable in his own skin.

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I seriously don't know if I believe anything he says but if his father really did wake him up to watch his mother kill herself than he comes by the crazy naturally.

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I think this guy self-humanizes via partial-admission.

 

I don't, by any means,think Durst is a brilliant psychopath.  But I do think he's got the same chops as your average seasoned killer who has been coached by lawyers, prison and probably his father.  He knows how much truth makes a solid and compelling lie.  He may not know that he knows that but he's trained.  It's the training that comes from unimaginable levels of entitlement while only ever having to oversee damage control  - because if Bob hasn't killed anyone, he has then effectively done nothing, ever.

 

I know nothing about this case outside the show.

The window story is all I know.

 

So I know nothing about Seymour.  I wonder how much shit went on between Bob and his dad.  Like, even if his father sort of stupidly has his son watch mommy in a dangerous situation which got ugly or S knew was ugly but not how ugly, my total-speculation is that daddy and son have some weird tacit agreement that develops over the years that looks something like this:

"Dad, wtf?"

"Son, don't worry.  It's fine. Oh and, um,  off topic - you are going to be just fine.  You never have to worry.  You will never have to do anything. Legacy-blah ..."

then in 1982, "Dad I need your help, you promised me, you know, after that whole thing, well you didn't promise but you did ..."

"Son, don't worry"

"Ok,"

"The business goes to your brother"

"But Dad, you said at the cemetery about the legacy -

- well, son, that was then.  and we aren't actually talking about this because nothing is real always"

 

something like that.

 

total and complete spec. obviously. thanks for indulging me :)

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I find Durst's face in these interviews queasily fascinating. The fact that I can't distinguish between his pupils and his irises is weird enough; add the eye twitches, and yeesh. And yes, I cracked up just a little bit at his forthrightness about how much less he could care about holding a conversation with anyone in Kathie's family. I mean, don't soft soap it, Bob.

 

 

Dude!  THE EYES WITH NO IRIS!  This drove me crazy, to the point where I thought it was photo-edited or I was doing that thing where you project some kind of demon onto the face of a fear-object.

 

And the BLINKING!  Ok, I noticed Durst blinking in the interview and then there's a shot of him as a kid blinking "after mom died."  Was that intentional?  

 

eta: of course, it was intentional.  Jarecki - ego-maniacal dirt bag and probably no dummy

That's an interesting question, since he has nothing to gain legally from speaking publicly about any of this. He seemed to express that he wants to be heard in what he judges as a more objective manner. Is he banking that Jarecki won't give him the complete "villain" edit someone else would? Then again, why would a misanthrope like him give a crap what anyone else thinks? Or maybe the whole exercise is simply in service to his narcissism; he got away with murder(s) and now he's a star on HBO.

He seems uncomfortable in his own skin.

he and jarecki are involved in mutual ego-stroaking and they probably both know it

Edited by runforcover
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His eyes are very strange indeed.  They remind me of people who have developmental disorders, like the ones that can cause the appearance of pre-mature aging, and their eyes are very black.  

Edited by Morbs
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Speaking of reenactments, it totally took me out of it when they had a sparkly new 2010s-era metro north train pulling into the train station in Katonah. As someone who was still riding those janky patchwork 1970s trains well into the 2000s (and they still run on parts of the line from Southeast up to Wassaic, trust me), I don't understand why they couldn't strive for some era-appropriate realism there.

That is also NOT the Katonah train station. Not sure why they couldn't use the real one. 

 

He seems guilty as fuck, and that NYPD cop is a real asshole, but you know there have got to be some twists and turns ala The Staircase to make this whole thing a bit less clear-cut. 

 

Makes you just want to peer into a person's brain and see the truth, doesn't it? Unsolved cases make my hair hurt, but I can't look away.

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His eyes look like the all-black demon eyes used in every cheap horror movie. Only his are real.

 

I have the impression that his current wife - the sassy one - knows the real truth and tried quite hard to help him get away with stuff when the police came calling. Anything to hang onto his money.

 

I wonder if the police willfully looked the other way when the first wife went missing. That kind of thing happens sometimes when money and power are involved. Because they missed some big ass red flags.

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I seriously don't know if I believe anything he says but if his father really did wake him up to watch his mother kill herself than he comes by the crazy naturally.

Oh, I don't buy that story at all. Durst is an admitted liar and there is no way his father woke him up to say, "Let's go see mommy on the roof." No way is that true. Maybe Durst did see her fall -- or maybe he pushed her himself since he is a psychopath -- but that story is ridiculous.

Jarecki - ego-maniacal dirt bag and probably no dummy

Just curious why you called out Jarecki. I only know him from Capturing the Friedmans and haven't read much about him personally.

I have no idea why I am watching this series. I've seen/read everything Durst related (including the recent Vanity Fair Confidential show about him) and none of what he's done is any mystery to me. The guy is the devil.

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His eyes are very strange indeed.  They remind me of people who have developmental disorders, like the ones that can cause the appearance of pre-mature aging, and their eyes are very black.

 

That's a waaaayyyy more generous reaction than my husband and I had. We looked at each other almost instantly and said "he's got the devil eyes from Carnivale!" Brother Justin & Robert Durst: two peas in a satanic pod.

 

And lord, I hope there's more info coming to explain the apparent abdication of investigative responsibility by the NYPD.

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The case of Kathie Durst's 1982 disappearance is reopened in 2000, but Robert Durst's friend Susan Berman is murdered before police can interview her.

 

Edited by stacey

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Well, that answered my question about why the bellman saw her that night. That wasn't from the police, that was from Durst's camp! And Susan is the one who made the call to the college! I am not sure about the Susan Berman murder, though. It's very possible that he killed her, but I'm not convinced yet. Kathy, most definitely, but not so sure with Susan.

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Ok, so did I make up that moment in the interview when Jarecki asks why he shaves his eyebrows and Durst almost trips up and says "to look more like a wom -  or something of the sort?

 

I am totally convinced he killed susan. No gangster would send a note.  Also, despite my limited personal experience, I'm going to assume a gangster would dispose of the body. This is a guy who steals a "poor man"'s sandwich on a shitty camera with thousands of dollars in his trunk.  Durst's whole thing is to flaunt his wealth and his "exceptional" status against whatever he considers common, fake-threatening the law by impersonating these common things/people/habits/misspelled words.  He's a pervert in the most technical sense.

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Durst's whole thing is to flaunt his wealth and his "exceptional" status

I've been wondering why Durst agreed to this series. You'd think he'd want to lay low and not give law enforcement any ideas. Maybe the series allows him to send out a giant FU to everyone, bragging that he got away with murder (well, at least two murders).

 

The episodes are dragging a bit. Could use less repetition of the staged scenarios.

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I might be giving Seymour a little too much credit, but I thought maybe he brought little Robert to the window so Mom would see him and decide not to jump. An attempt to give her something to live for.

But yeah, Robert's eyes and blinking are creepy, and he's guilty as fuck.

What's the third murder? Did I miss it? I know about Kathie and the guy in Texas.

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The third murder is his best friend, Susan Berman, who was murdered in her LA home in 2000 a few days before she was going to be questioned by police who had reopened Kathy's case.

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The most telling thing to me in this episode was when Jarecki asks him what the police were looking for in Lake Truesdale and he says "I don't know...body parts or something."  

 

WHO SAYS "BODY PARTS"??? Wouldn't you say, "A body"???

 

I like the pacing of it. I think it's super-creepy, just like him. Then again some people thought The Staircase was too slow but I liked that too. 

Edited by panthergirl13
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At least the title of the show is making more sense. He's either a serial killer or he's got Jessica Fletcher Syndrome and a surprising number of people he comes into contact with are ending up murdered.

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The most telling thing to me in this episode was when Jarecki asks him what the police were looking for in Lake Truesdale and he says "I don't know...body parts or something."  

 

WHO SAYS "BODY PARTS"??? Wouldn't you say, "A body"???

 

I like the pacing of it. I think it's super-creepy, just like him. Then again some people thought The Staircase was too slow but I liked that too. 

Yes to this!  I thought the same thing. Wouldn't the response be A Body?  Why "parts"? Only if you get rid of your bodies in parts, which he totally does.  

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Well, that answered my question about why the bellman saw her that night. That wasn't from the police, that was from Durst's camp! And Susan is the one who made the call to the college! I am not sure about the Susan Berman murder, though. It's very possible that he killed her, but I'm not convinced yet. Kathy, most definitely, but not so sure with Susan.

He didn't kill Susan personally. He had the guy in Texas do it. Then, he killed the guy in Texas.

 

Creepy, slimy dude.

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I've been wondering why Durst agreed to this series. You'd think he'd want to lay low and not give law enforcement any ideas. Maybe the series allows him to send out a giant FU to everyone, bragging that he got away with murder (well, at least two murders).

 

Robert Durst obviously thinks very highly of himself and his intelligence, but I just don't understand why he would agree to do this show. Adnan Syed did the Serial podcast because he has nothing to lose—he was convicted.

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The most telling thing to me in this episode was when Jarecki asks him what the police were looking for in Lake Truesdale and he says "I don't know...body parts or something."

Yes! And the other kicker was when Jarecki showed him the copy of the "cadaver" letter. Durst said, without hesitation, "Yes, block letters. Written by someone trying to disguise their handwriting. And "Beverly" is misspelled." That response was waaaaay to quick and eerily accurate of the "writer's" intent.

He didn't kill Susan personally. He had the guy in Texas do it. Then, he killed the guy in Texas.

I like that theory. When Vanity Fair Confidential featured Durst's story last month, one intriguing fact about the Texas guy was recently uncovered:

turns out he worked for the Durst Organization at the time Kathie was murdered.

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