The Jinx: Part Two - Delusions of triple murderer Robert Durst

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
3 Min Read
The Jinx Part Two
The Jinx Part Two Credit: HBO/Binge

“Killed them all, of course”.

With those five words, Robert Durst gained international notoriety as a triple-murderer who was dumb enough to confess on a hot mic while in the bathroom.

Also with those five words, The Jinx supercharged the true crime genre into one that is heaving under the weight of a gazillion shows designed to tickle viewers’ curiosity about mankind’s most depraved instincts and proclivities.

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The Jinx premiered in February 2015 and while Making a Murderer came along later that year, it was really the Durst miniseries that’s responsible for starting this still ongoing current wave of hooky crime shows, both in documentary and narrative forms.

But nothing has managed to surpass The Jinx because no other project had that level of real-life drama happen concurrently. If the details beyond the bathroom confession are hazy, what you need to remember is Durst was arrested the night before the finale in a New Orleans hotel 560kms from his Texas home.

The Jinx Part Two
The Jinx Part Two Credit: HBO/Binge

He had on him, $US40,000 in cash and a tracking number to a package that contained another $US115,000. He was on the run. The Los Angeles prosecutors who had reopened the investigation into Susan Berman’s murder had access to all the information The Jinx filmmaker Andrew Jarecki had unearthed so when it looked like Durst was about to do a runner, they were primed.

The finale – which closed out with those five infamous words – couldn’t have asked for better publicity.

Nine years later, The Jinx Part Two recounts all that followed and if you didn’t voraciously consume the criminal trial in the years after, it’s an illuminating further exploration into the psyche of a man so sheathed in his own privilege and delusion.

It puts together court footage, recreations and piece-to-camera interviews with some of the main players including prosecutor John Lewin and Durst friends who wouldn’t participate in the first series, Nick Chavez, Susan Giordano and Chris Lovell.

The challenge of a show with a foregone conclusions (Durst was convicted for killing Berman in 2021 and died four months later) is sustaining the dramatic tension. The Jinx Part Two is betting many didn’t breathlessly follow the trial (a fair assumption, a lot of other things were going on the world), so if you’re just after a blow-by-blow of what happened, the series more than delivers.

The Jinx Part Two
The Jinx Part Two Credit: HBO/Binge

But the more interesting element is, and always has been, the figure of Durst himself. It’s chilling to see someone so unmoved at being confronted with his crimes, someone who has no regard for the destruction he’s caused, the lives he’s taken. He is only aware of his victimhood.

The most gripping moments are found in Durst’s prison conversations with his visitors and on the phone, which were recorded. These interactions reveal the “grace” that wealth and connections buy you, the people still in your corner because they live in an entirely different one.

It’s not an immoral community, it’s an amoral one — the scariest thing of all.

The Jinx Part Two can’t recapture the oomph of its first instalment but it still has an interesting story to tell in a genre that’s past exhaustion point. And that’s not an easy thing to achieve.

The Jinx: Part Two is streaming on Binge

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