By now, even if you don’t watch the show, you’ve heard the outcome of the finale of The Jinx, which aired last night. The documentary was a 6-part HBO series on Robert Durst, the son of a billionaire who was suspected in the disappearance of his wife in the early 1980s, the murder of his best friend Suan in the early 2000s, and the dismemberment of his next door neighbor in Galveston, Texas in 2001. He somehow was freed from all charges
At the very end of his final interview with documentarian Andrew Jarecki, thinking that his mic was off, he whispered, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” This weekend, in the real world, he was also arrested, and will be tried in Los Angeles on first degree murder charges for killing Susan.
The real world arrest and finale seem connected, but in actuality, the film was made three years ago, and the footage of Durst confessing was discovered nine months ago. So the LAPD must have some new evidence that connects him to the murder of Susan. What is it? The trial will make for another interesting story.
What I find most interesting is the way that my friends who have watched the documentary feel about Durst. I have one friend who has a lot of sympathy for him, and believes that his actions are connected to his childhood. I have another who thinks that he is an absolute psychopath. I myself am very much swayed in a hateful direction by the fact that Durst used to beat his wife before she disappeared. I believe he’s guilty of all of the murders, but I’m not sure of who the man was that killed them all.
Which is where I think the documentary falters. Jarecki was just as interested in himself as an amateur sleuth as he was in Durst — at the expense of really uncovering who Durst was, if he was any one thing at all. Throughout, there are hints dropped about Durst’s extremely bizarre behavior. For example, he left his second wife in New York, and moved to Galveston, where he posed as a mute woman for many months before slaughtering his next door neighbor. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK? Jarecki mentions it, but doesn’t examine it. Something else I found compelling but unexamined was the way that Durst stalked his younger brother.
I wanted to know what the fuck Durst was like. Not just in front of the camera, and according to the media. What does Durst do all day? Why did he marry his latest wife, who by all accounts seems like a nut job? Is she around? He’s worth $100 million. What does he do with the money? Does he swim? Does he have neighbors? Does he not care about material things, which would explain why he moved to a hovel in Galveston? Has he potentially killed other people?
We’ve all seen and heard crime procedural dramas. That’s like basically all there is on television besides vampires, zombies, the apocalypse, hot teenagers and reality shows. The finale focussed a lot on Jarecki preparing to confront Durst with a handwriting sample that connects him directly with Susan’s murder. Who cares how Jarecki prepared? Jarecki isn’t a detective, and he’s not auditioning for a role on Law and Order.
How about when Durst, when confronted with the evidence, stared out of his completely black, twitching eyes, and kept on answering questions in a normal tone of voice. And then, all of a sudden, choked and then loudly burped? Did he know the mic was still on when he went to the bathroom? Did he give the interviews because, much as he had stolen a sandwich in front of a security camera when he was on the run from Galveston, hope to get caught? Was his confession also calculated? What happened in the nine months since it was discovered?
The mind of a psychopath is probably inexplicable. But I want to know about the man a psychopath is. The person he projects. Is he on Facebook? Does he read newspapers? Does he like any television programs? Rather than making it about his own relationship with a notorious killer, Jarecki should have uncovered the things that actual cops won’t be able to uncover — things he had access to because Durst liked him and trusted him.
This is my opinion, of course. The Jinx is still worth watching. I bet people have other thoughts. TELL ME THEM.