‘Bob always talks’

Published date30 April 2024
Publication titleSignal
IT has been nine years since The Jinx aired its explosive finale and we heard the immortal words uttered by Robert Durst: ‘‘Killed them all, of course.’’ He was, in essence, confessing to the murders of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst (in 1982); his best friend, Susan Berman (in 2000); and his neighbour, Morris Black (in 2001). The documentary film-makers handed their evidence to law enforcement in 2013, and he was arrested on March 14, 2015, the day before the finale aired. He was convicted of the murder of Berman in 2021 and charged with McCormack’s disappearance — but died in prison at the age of 78, the day before that trial was due to begin

With Durst now gone, it is hard to know exactly what fresh intel a sequel to The Jinx could possibly reveal, and whether or not this is simply a Tiger King 2-style cash grab. But the first four episodes present a reasonably compelling tale that overlaps with the first series, following the investigation into Durst reopened by the Los Angeles District Attorney, based on the recordings received from the film-makers.

Previous attempts to prosecute Durst had been halted thanks to the leverage of his immense wealth passed down from his real-estate magnate father. But, unfortunately for him, not even incredible privilege can protect you when you won’t shut up. Durst simply cannot stop incriminating himself. He would probably have got off scot-free if it weren’t for the confounding choice to confess to murder while miked up for an HBO documentary. As District Attorney John Lewin says: when it comes to interrogation, people can choose to talk or to remain silent — and ‘‘Bob always talks’’.

The first episode is the strongest. It follows from the reopening of the cold case until the airing of the season finale, and we learn how Durst reacted in real time to his new-found fame. Even with his propensity for indiscretion, the lack of restraint remains shocking. It transpires that, at the end of each episode, he’d call Charles Bagli, a reporter from the New York Times, to discuss it. By episode five of the first series he became nervous, hatching a plan so ridiculous it has to be heard to be believed. By which I mean attempting to go on the lam disguised as a ‘‘deaf-mute’’ woman called...

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