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Netflix hopes to cash in on popularity of NPR's Serial with Making a Murderer

Netflix has picked up a new 10-part documentary series called Making a Murderer, which covers the three-decade story of one man’s experience inside the American criminal justice system.

Co-directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos spent the past ten years learning about Steven Avery, a man who lived 18 years in prison after being convicted and later exonerated on rape charges. That’s where the story gets interesting: Having filed a civil lawsuit against local law enforcement for corruption, Avery wound up becoming a suspect in a murder case.

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“There are an unbelievable number of twists and turns in the story arc of Making a Murderer, it feels like it has to be fictional,” said Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming Lisa Nishimura in the company’s press release for the new show. “Ricciardi and Demos have navigated very complex terrain and skillfully woven together an incredible series that leaves you feeling like you’re right in the middle of the action.”

The new series, which should captivate audiences who flocked to Sarah Koenig’s popular audio podcast Serial, investigates myriad factors in Avery’s case, ranging from basic prosecutorial misconduct to evidence tampering and witness coercion. According to the directors, it should prove to be a compelling, if hardly believable, true story.

“If we had not been there to witness these events we would have trouble believing they actually occurred. Our goal has always been to share that experience with viewers,” Ricciardi and Demos said of the series.

Making a Murderer will join similar offers from competing networks, including HBO’s Robert Durst-centered show The Jinx, and FX’s soon-to-be-released OJ Simpson series American Crime Story as new true-crime documentary options. The series should fit in nicely to other non-fiction efforts from Netflix, joining documentary series like Chef’s Table, and films like the Nina Simone doc What Happened, Miss Simone?

The new series will make it to screens just in time for the holidays, with a scheduled debut date of December 18.