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The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst

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The prosecutors trying that case were terrible, just truly in over their heads. They KNEW he would argue self defense and they KNEW the burden of proof was on them, not the defense. I think Durst's attorneys are slimey, all but flat out admitting (the younger bearded guy) that they instructed him how to tiptoe up to the line of perjury without actually stepping over it, but I guess that's what 2 million dollars will buy you. They knew how to work that jury, from playing on their "Yankee" bias (bringing up Jeanine Pirro) and hammering over and over that the state couldn't prove intent, so they legally had to bring back a not guilty finding.

Am I the only person freaked out by the theme song? It seriously scares me so much my husband has to mute the TV until it's over.

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Am I the only person freaked out by the theme song? It seriously scares me so much my husband has to mute the TV until it's over.

 

Hee. I actually bought it on iTunes last week, I'm kind of obsessed with it...

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Am I the only person freaked out by the theme song? It seriously scares me so much my husband has to mute the TV until it's over.

My husband says they should substitute the theme from Southland.

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Remember the note leading the police to Susan's "cadaver"? I was reminded of it when Durst only referred to Black's body as "the corpse." Same distancing and dehumanizing of the victim.

 

His look of relief when the verdict was read, though, seemed like an honest expression of emotion. The first so far.

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This just gets weirder and weirder. That hot mic situation was flat out wild.

 

After watching this episode last night I fell down the Google rabbit hole and found this NY Times interview with Douglas Durst from early January (to get some Durst family messages out ahead of the series, presumably). Since he didn't cooperate with Jarecki it's unclear what, if any, of this could still come up in the final two episodes--but there's some chilling stuff in here. I mean: Igor?! (There may be a trigger in the story for the animal sensitive among you, FYI.)

Edited by hendersonrocks
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\

Am I the only person freaked out by the theme song? It seriously scares me so much my husband has to mute the TV until it's over.

It creeps me out. It seems to be the first person narration of a psychopath, and the groove suggests being a psychopath is badass and sexy.  But then, it is not the only song out there like that.

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You know, I want to feel badly for Douglas Durst and the rest of his family but they can all go to hell along with Bob. Their primary movitvation, first and foremost, is to protect their empire, i.e. their billions of dollars. They never raised a finger to help Kathie's family or help the police put Bob behind bars for the rest of his life. Maybe if they had, they wouldn't all be living in fear of their own lives now.

 

Too bad you think your brother is going to kill you. He's already killed Kathie, Susan, and Morris Black -- none of whose lives apparently matter more than your bank accounts.

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You know, I want to feel badly for Douglas Durst and the rest of his family but they can all go to hell along with Bob. Their primary movitvation, first and foremost, is to protect their empire, i.e. their billions of dollars. They never raised a finger to help Kathie's family or help the police put Bob behind bars for the rest of his life. Maybe if they had, they wouldn't all be living in fear of their own lives now.

 

Too bad you think your brother is going to kill you. He's already killed Kathie, Susan, and Morris Black -- none of whose lives apparently matter more than your bank accounts.

That's part of why I think they had something to do with it. Even if it was just as an accessory to murder after the fact. Shooing away Kathy's family like that came across as very sinister to me. And I didn't buy that his brother was afraid of him. You are scared to death of your billion dollar fugitive lawyer and you hire bodyguards, and when he is caught you hire counsel for him? Does not compute.

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Even if it was just as an accessory to murder after the fact.

Totally agree. There are no clean hands in that family.

The preview for the next episode has someone saying that if a member of the family would just break, the authorities might be able to solve the case. Well, yeah. But good luck. Never gonna happen. Someone might lose a dollar somewhere.

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Does it seem weird to anyone else that no mention of his current wife came up during the footage we see from the trial? The first episode showed a taped interview with her that asked about her knowledge of Galveston, which she denied knowing about. But, if that is true, and we also play devil's advocate and assume that Durst's story about watching that show with Morris every day and getting coffee together, etc., is also true, then where the hell did his wife think he was that whole time that he was trying to "not be" Robert Durst? I mean, he was there for several months from the sound of it, right? Man, there are so many creepy and weird things about all three murders.

Between this, Serial and the West Memphis Three movie that came out last year, there has sure been a lot of recent examples of failure of law enforcement to actually investigate crimes properly and/or try their cases properly. Makes me lose more faith in the justice system every day.

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Does it seem weird to anyone else that no mention of his current wife came up during the footage we see from the trial? The first episode showed a taped interview with her that asked about her knowledge of Galveston, which she denied knowing about. But, if that is true, and we also play devil's advocate and assume that Durst's story about watching that show with Morris every day and getting coffee together, etc., is also true, then where the hell did his wife think he was that whole time that he was trying to "not be" Robert Durst? I mean, he was there for several months from the sound of it, right? Man, there are so many creepy and weird things about all three murders.

Between this, Serial and the West Memphis Three movie that came out last year, there has sure been a lot of recent examples of failure of law enforcement to actually investigate crimes properly and/or try their cases properly. Makes me lose more faith in the justice system every day.

I don't know if she was married to him after he killed Black or before.

 

If you really want to lose faith in the justice system, look into the Cameron Todd Willingham case. It goes in the opposite direction, and Texas straight up executed an innocent man in 2004.

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Remember the note leading the police to Susan's "cadaver"? I was reminded of it when Durst only referred to Black's body as "the corpse." Same distancing and dehumanizing of the victim.

Yep, I thought the same thing.

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After watching this episode last night I fell down the Google rabbit hole and found this NY Times interview with Douglas Durst from early January (to get some Durst family messages out ahead of the series, presumably). Since he didn't cooperate with Jarecki it's unclear what, if any, of this could still come up in the final two episodes--but there's some chilling stuff in here. I mean: Igor?! (There may be a trigger in the story for the animal sensitive among you, FYI.)

I found the Times piece earlier in the week, and the "Igor" thing also freaked me right the hell out. I agree with Giant Misfit: the Dursts are all about protecting themselves and their billions -- they couldn't care less about justice.

 

If you really want to lose faith in the justice system, look into the Cameron Todd Willingham case. It goes in the opposite direction, and Texas straight up executed an innocent man in 2004.

Yes. I saw the Frontline about the Willingham case. Now I can't even hear Rick Perry's name without wanting to scream.

 

Yeah, you're right, there was something really weird about just about everything the wife was saying. She Knows Shit.

Mmmhmm, definitely. She's also a shit-stirrer extraordinaire in pursuit of getting as much as she can of the Durst fortune.

Edited by spaceghostess

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I don't know if she was married to him after he killed Black or before.

 

If you really want to lose faith in the justice system, look into the Cameron Todd Willingham case. It goes in the opposite direction, and Texas straight up executed an innocent man in 2004.

I think Morris Black was murdered in October 2001 and they were married December 2001.

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Yes. I saw the Frontline about the Willingham case. Now I can't even hear Rick Perry's name without wanting to scream.

What gets me the most is that the fire science was labeled to be junk science years before he was even executed, and they refused to even give him a retrial, and they refuse to posthumously pardon him. I used to waver on the death penalty, but now I am 100% against it.

 

I can't wait for tonight's episode. I can't believe there are only two left. These final two better be satisfying.

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She Knows Shit.

Dang right, she does. According to this article:

 

Durst told his sister he had to marry Debrah to “write all my checks” while he was on the run from justice, and that he can’t divorce Charatan “yet,” as long as he’s considered a suspect in the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathie.

 

And then there's this:

 

Referring to a Post article speculating that Durst knew Morris Black long before killing him:

Bob: “It’s an interesting article.”

Debrah: “We shouldn’t talk about this.”

 

The article also suggests that, according to tapes of the two of them recorded while he was in prison in Texas, that he had gone to Douglas' house while he was on the run to kill him. Debrah quickly suggests that it was a bid for Bob to commit to suicide. I couldn't locate the NYPost article that speculates how Durst knew Morris Black. :(

 

Anyway, this B knows everything. But like the Durst family, it's all about the money.

 

What's really interesting is that this article suggests their "marriage" isn't even legal at all since Kathie, apparently, has never been declared legally dead.

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OMG. I dang near got sick to my stomach when they showed that letter from Durst to Susan. I mean, holy crap! And from the preview, it seems Durst caught wind of the discovery. How would that be possible if not for Susan's stepson? (Giving him the big old side eye, too. He seemed to be faking a lot of emotion there.) And can't the police test for DNA on the adhesive part of the cadaver-letter envelope?

As for Douglas, wouldn't shed a tear for him if Bob had his way. He's a greedy, complicit piece of garbage just like the "wife" and the rest of that family who won't speak out for fear their precious fortune could be risked.

I'd like to say the discovery of that letter gives me hope Durst will be prosecuted for Susan's murder. But he won't. No more than he ever will be prosecuted for Kathie's.

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This episode seemed to me to be a lot of filler and a lot of "Look at me!" by Jarecki. But I have to admit that the payoff of the letter to Susan was great.

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The conclusion!
 

The series concludes after nearly a decade of investigating Robert Durst and his alleged crimes, and discussing the cases with dozens of individuals, including family, friends, police, lawyers, jurors, and journalists.

 

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I was 100% wrong about Bob probably not having a hand in Susan's death. I was floored by that letter discovery. Without that, you could have theorized that whoever wrote the note spelled Beverly wrong to make it look like an uneducated person wrote it, but it turns out that it's just the way that Bob spells it! Bless your pack rat heart, Susan. I hope that this opens the investigation into her death again at the very least. He is in California and he sent the note. Flew out the day of the murder at 10:00 PM. Circumstantial, but cases have been tried on less, and it's more than what they have on Kathie.

Also, it seems like Durst's nephew is the only Durst family member with a conscience or feelings. All of the siblings and Seymore were, at the least, accessories after the fact. And Doug makes my skin crawl.

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Ahhh, so many questions with just one episode to go! One thing I'd love to know is the order in which things with Susan's stepson happened during filming. We got the footage of he and Bob being all chummy chummy a few weeks ago, and then again tonight--when did stepson's letter "discovery" come up? Something about that whole situation seems...off.

 

And Doug makes my skin crawl.

My initial (generous) take on him was that he was saddled with the decisions of his old man, but I'm re-thinking that now that it was disclosed he was in 5-6 interviews with Bob and the private investigator. Sigh. I wonder if--given all that's followed in the years since--he wishes he could go back and just turn the bastard in.

 

This whole thing is wild. I'm going to miss spending Sunday nights with this sociopath. (Unless you're reading this right now, Bob, in which case YOU'RE TOTALLY INNOCENT & I BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SAY! KTHXBYE!)

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I think the letter thing seemed to come after the initial interview because he clearly had a previous relationship with several members of the crew and appeared to be going through the boxes to find them things that they could use and he seemed pretty shellshocked by it. I mean how he could been in denial for so long is beyond me (though I imagine the 100K helped) but he seemed freaked out by it.

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I got a massive shiver up my spine when the letter was shown...

I gasped out loud and that's when the litany of "Holy shit" started. I could not move or say anything else until the credits rolled. (Then I ran to the computer.)

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I have a terrible feeling that the way these producers handled the finding of the envelope, dealing with it themselves and seemingly tipping off Durst to an issue is going to lead, once again, to an inability to convict Durst.  Not that the envelope, even handled properly,  would have been 100% assured to lead to a conviction.  He could say he did indeed go to visit her for the holidays and walked in and saw her dead body; obviously it would look bad for him to be there, so he did the next best thing...tried to save his friend from horribly decomposing.  Stranger stories have led to acquittals......I'm looking at you Galveston!  

Edited by pennben
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I gasped out loud and that's when the litany of "Holy shit" started. I could not move or say anything else until the credits rolled. (Then I ran to the computer.)

Yeah, I just screamed in public, myself.

 

WELL!  THIS JUST GOT GOOD.

 

You know, I didn't buy the doug slant (or the doc itself didn't sell me).  I have, from day frigging one, believed that the Durst family is entirely involved - swapping secrets, mistakes, traumas, incompetencies -if silently.  But I also buy that Bob tried to kill his brother, and that, furthermore, regardless of his involvement, it is more evident that Doug was protecting himself.  Everything that could be read as denial and lies could easily be explained as much-needed security.  Still, everyone in this doc, director included, strikes me as so cynical that Doug Durst, by virtue of his refusal, seems like a paragon of morality. yeah, I know it's not a popular opinion but Jarecki milked the money thing without going into where that might be relevant to protect the crime. Seems like a cheap dirt bag director move.  All I know about Doug is that he's rich and protected.  I need more.

 

THE LETTER! 

(duuuude)

Edited by runforcover
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I gasped out loud and that's when the litany of "Holy shit" started. I could not move or say anything else until the credits rolled. (Then I ran to the computer.)

 

 

This was me--I basically froze.  I didn't run to the computer until this morning, because 1. I knew I had to sleep and I live alone and I didn't want to be more freaked out, and 2. I wanted stuff to read!

 

I've actually met Doug Durst, more than 20 years ago (he gave a lot of money to a theatre I worked at), and I actually recognized where his house is (I used to live about a block away, in a much-less-nice building).  And the offices of the Durst Organization looked to be on 6th avenue, near Rockefeller Center.  All of which also creeped me out, as well as made me wish I was back in NYC.

 

And I'm going to be on vacation with no cable or reliable Internet access, beginning Sunday afternoon, for a week!  Ack! 

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it is more evident that Doug was protecting himself.

If Doug were so interested in keeping himself safe, the ultimate protection would be having Bob behind bars so he couldn't show up on Doug's doorstep with a gun. To me, Doug is only interested in protecting the family's fortune. A civil case (and why none was ever filed by Kathie's family baffles me) could eat into a sizable chunk of what he has, though it would be a pittance since he has billions. The whole family knows what Bob did; their collective silence is chilling. Money is a powerful corrupter of human decency.

I also fell out of my seat, this time with laughter, looking at the NYPost headline the day after Bob's acquittal: "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!" Slow clap to you, Post headline writer.

Edited by Giant Misfit
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I have a terrible feeling that the way these producers handled the finding of the envelope, dealing with it themselves and seemingly tipping off Durst to an issue is going to lead, once again, to an inability to convict Durst. 

But those tapes... What's on those tapes?
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Not that the envelope, even handled properly,  would have been 100% assured to lead to a conviction.  He could say he did indeed go to visit her for the holidays and walked in and saw her dead body; obviously it would look bad for him to be there, so he did the next best thing...tried to save his friend from horribly decomposing.  Stranger stories have led to acquittals......I'm looking at you Galveston!  

Exactly what I said.

 

And finally something I have personal knowledge of: I had a friend who went to college in Arcata (CSU Humboldt), and I live in Los Angeles. I've made that trip many times. The chronology was no where as tight as Bob wanted it to seem. You can do the whole thing in a straight shot. With stops to eat I've done it twice in 13-14 hours. If you only stopped for gas and ate minimart snacks as you were driving, you could probably cut an hour off that. Then, getting to SFO from L.A.? If you take the 5 and don't get hung up in L.A. traffic, you can get there in 5 hours. I've done it. Especially since the airport is south of the City.

 

I thought the stepson seemed genuinely shocked. If that's right, how creepy for him.

 

Doug Durst --mega-creep. I honestly feel no sympathy for any fears he might have from Bob. You can't take it with you, Dougie. And with their billions, I'm sure however much they've given to charity is a drop in the bucket. I was glad to see that nephew. At least one Durst seemed to think of Kathy as a human being. It totally was creepy the way Bob referred to her as "Kathy Durst." 

 

Not a fan of current wife. Seems like a gold digger with a weak humanity.

 

Loved that security guy with the big Durst 'D' on his jacket that his vest wasn't completely hiding. Yeah, you're just "building" security.

 

I don't have any real issues with Jarecki. Yeah, I don't like that he's on camera, but I thought his being seen during the Bob interviews was partly a set up for the creepy ending of the previous episode (with Bob mumbling the practice of his lines).

 

Do I seem to be saying "creepy" at lot? Heh.

I also fell out of my seat, this time with laughter, looking at the NYPost headline the day after Bob's acquittal: "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!" Slow clap to you, Post headline writer.

I honestly LOL'd. Nice release of tension.

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The safe deposit box was important because it records the chain of custody of the evidence once received by Jarecki. In other words, it left the stepson's hands and everything that took place with it was recorded until it was safely stored at a bank. This will make the evidence a little bit less difficult for the defense to challenge.

The "Michael Moore" moment reinforces the fact that Douglas Durst is ducking all questions regarding what he knows about Robert Durst and is actively distancing himself from it.

I vaguely remember Durst paid about $100,000 to put the stepson through school? Or am I confusing him with someone else?

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I vaguely remember Durst paid about $100,000 to put the stepson through school? Or am I confusing him with someone else?

You are correct.

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I wonder, so how was Jarecki going to proceed with the narrative of the show if there had been no letter? Or does that mean, they found the letter early on in the interview process and are incorporating it later in order to tell a story?

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So, I guess Jarecki has now decided he's gonna be the one to crack the Berman case?  Instead of notifying law enforcement about the discovered letter, he's going to hang on to it, and try to get Bob to confess? Say something incriminating?  I just feel like Jarecki's desire for an Angela Lansbury/Jessica Fletcher moment isn't the right way to handle this.  Also, Bob's current lawyers are the worst lawyers in history.  I'm a criminal defense attorney, and there's no way I'd let my client go through these interviews when there are potential murder charges out there.

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I can't blame Douglas Durst from not cooperating with this documentary. His brother Bob has been trouble for years and Douglas is scared of him. Why should he get himself involved with this documentary when he doesn't know how he will be portrayed?

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Also, Bob's current lawyers are the worst lawyers in history.  I'm a criminal defense attorney, and there's no way I'd let my client go through these interviews when there are potential murder charges out there.

 

I'm sure you'd tell him it was a bad idea, but could you really stop someone like this guy from doing whatever the hell he wanted?  He thinks he's the smartest guy in the room and he has more than enough money to hire six high-powered defense attorneys if you decide to dump him as a client if he decides to go against your advice.  Does that make them bad lawyers to advise against something, but then stay with the client to try to limit the damage he does?

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I'm sure you'd tell him it was a bad idea, but could you really stop someone like this guy from doing whatever the hell he wanted?  He thinks he's the smartest guy in the room and he has more than enough money to hire six high-powered defense attorneys if you decide to dump him as a client if he decides to go against your advice.  Does that make them bad lawyers to advise against something, but then stay with the client to try to limit the damage he does?

Yeah, it makes them bad lawyers.  If you hire me for legal advice, and I advise you not to do any interviews, and you choose to do them anyway, I'd tell you to hire a new lawyer.  Not to mention, even though it appears he has legal counsel present during the interviews, they haven't intervened at all (that we've seen) to restrict the subject matter of the questions Bob has been asked.

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they haven't intervened at all (that we've seen)

 

We did see some in the hot mike moment last episode. To assume there has been no other intervention or prepping feels a wrong judgment to make about a highly edited interview.

 

But sure, I hear you, many times a client makes a decision that the attorney doesn't agree with, that's part of the job.  In my opinion, you give your best advice and then do your best job, even if the client doesn't always do what you wanted (assuming nothing unethical or illegal). As frustrating as it may be, clients have their own agency in things regarding their own lives. A bad client shouldn't lead to a conclusion of "bad lawyer".  Honestly, I'd be inclined to be more critical of any lawyer who bails everytime a client disagrees with the lawyer, there are ethical obligations relating to dumping a client.

 

But I'm digressing, on to the finale!

Edited by pennben
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I thought the reason for the large focus on the Dursts this episode was pretty clear - the obvious implication from everything is they know more than they are saying and instead of helping put him away, they closed ranks (and if the internet is to be believed gave him a huge sum of money to go away). At the very least they weren't helpful. I'm not in love with the ambush schtick wither in this or as a general trope but if as a documentary film maker you get such a gold plated opportunity to visually contrast the pain of the McCormack's with Douglas Durst getting an award for his family values or whatnot, it's sort of negligent not to do it. Just the general optics of all that is worth far more to Jarecki than the actual contact with Douglas. And the rest of the Durst stuff at the home and office goes to Robert's motives. Everyone has been asking, why on earth would you DO this? Well, we got our answer : to really mess things up for his family. Him loitering out side the house taunting them to bustle him away, Bobby Durst in a nutshell.

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I guess I've just watched too many of these "true crime" things and find this one entirely wanting.

 

I don't get Bob Durst as the mustache-twirling villain. Does he really seem at all competent enough to pull off 3 nearly-perfect murders? Plus, the constant references to "he acted strangely" incidents just don't carry weight with me if the person is so strange to begin with. 

 

Not saying he absolutely didn't do any of the things they're suggesting, just saying what they're trying to use to convince me so far is paper-thin. 

 

Based on evidence presented so far, I'm not shocked they haven't been able to charge or convict him. 

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