The Jinx


By: Connor Lenahan

Let’s start with something extremely important: If you have not watched HBO’s documentary mini-series The Jinx then both stop reading this article and go watch the entire series, it won’t take you long.

There is a lot that has been written in the last couple of days relating to The Jinx because the series concluded this past Sunday. That’s a great deal of the writing at least. The rest is because Robert Durst was just arrested for the 2000 homicide of his friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles.

I’m not going to try and attempt to do the same level of analysis of the series with regards to other true crime genre entries like Serial and True Detective knowing the amount of time I have to complete it. I can’t match the effort of, say, Grantland’s Molly Lambert, or Mark Harris, who both wrote terrific pieces in the past week.

Instead I want to focus my efforts away from the series as a whole. There are a number of problems the series that will most likely be investigated during Durst’s ensuing trial – namely the presentation of the timeline in the series, the ethics behind director Adam Jarecki’s handling of evidence, and the actual date of the discovery of what became the final scene. Those questions and concerns will come for a later date. What we can, and for me will, talk about today is the final scene.

There have only been a handful of times that a television show has given me goosebumps. There are even less times that I can think of that a show has left me shuddering and trying to catch my breath. The final scene of The Jinx has stuck with  me all day since I finished last night.

This will sound like hyperbole, but I’m not quite sure it is: The ending to The Jinx is the most breathtaking scene I have ever witnessed on television. I mean this quite literally – I was unable to breathe as I watched it. My hands were shaking. The context of the series, given that this is totally and completely real life, made every shocking reveal bone chilling. I can and have gotten emotionally attached to fictional characters and stories before to the point that I have been emotionally and physically moved by plot points before.

However, this is different. This is real life. The actions of Robert Durst occurred while he and I have walked this Earth. Had it not been for his arrest this week there would be a chance that I might actually run into the man on the street in New York City. That is not possible with Frank Underwood or Walter White. Every horrific thing Robert Durst did, or is accused of doing, is infinitely more chilling.

To hear him speak to himself off camera and, possibly, probably confess that he “killed them all, of course,” made me shiver to no end. I even knew it was coming. I had heard this was the way the series ended just by being online this past week. This wasn’t a spoiler – this was real life. To become emotionally connected with this case through The Jinx, watch Robert Durst maintain his innocence, and finally, coldly confess is the epitome of breathtaking. You couldn’t get a better ending than this if you tried.