Here we go again. For those addicted to true crime books, movies, and series, Netflix’s Amanda Knox is about to send us down the rabbit hole again. Making a Murderer, The Jinx, The Night Of, Serial, The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey — we almost can’t help ourselves; watching is compulsory. Competent or not, the amateur detective gene is a powerful brain warp that drives. Regardless of what we’ve read or heard in the news, a focused series means the promise of information we haven’t heard, interviews with people we’ve never seen, and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to study the accused’s manner and countenance. Don’t we all secretly judge the cover no matter what we’re told?
Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn are counting on that. They know having a chance to hear Amanda Knox unfettered by news filters and attorney-client privilege, to be offered up the little untold bits and pieces of a sensational murder, are irresistible. Honing in on the first convicted, later acquitted and freed on appeal could-she-be-a-murderess is the kind of story we’re helpless to ignore. They themselves were taken in by the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher and the subsequent media circus, left wanting to get to the truth of actual events not framed by a possibly botched or manipulated investigation or melodramatic reporting.
Admittedly, many things reported about Knox’s behavior at the police station after her arrest were seriously troubling; her explanations didn’t much help. On reports that she’d made faces at her boyfriend (and fellow suspect) Raffaele Sollecito and done cartwheels, Knox said:
I suspect that Raffaele thought I was having a breakdown. He sat me in his lap and bounced me gently. He kissed me, made faces at me, and told me jokes, all in an effort to soothe my agitation, babying me so I would stop storming around. I cringe to say that treating me like an infant helped. Normally, it would have repelled me. But at the time it worked. I was reacting to a very confusing and terrifying situation. And I had a number of reactions. I didn’t have a consistent reaction over the entire time. And sometimes I was very angry, and sometimes I was very sad, and sometimes I paced. And I didn’t hide my reaction. I wasn’t doing cartwheels, despite what they said. I was reacting in an upset manner. And I was upset. And I could’ve been more sensitive to the people around me. That’s what I think was the major issue — was I could’ve been more sensitive to the people around me.
Regarding a comment that Kercher must have suffered, Knox admitted her crass reply of “How could she not? She got her f*cking throat slit,” reflected poorly. Knox later clarified:
I was angry, was pacing, thinking about what Meredith was — must have been through. I had already been through hours of questioning, and her friends came much later. And they were much more vulnerable, and in that moment I wasn’t sensitive enough to their feelings. But what I was hearing was that somebody did something horrible to my friend, and I could not conceive how it could be anything but how horrible it was. And that’s what my exclamation was all about.
Whether someone’s upset or naive (a descriptor often used by Knox or her family), Knox’s clarifications don’t ease the mind; they only send it reeling in another direction: coincidentally, the very one she brings up herself in the cleverly set-up “Believe” and “Suspect” trailers Netflix just released.
The girl I see in this interview with Diane Sawyer is somehow too composed … too careful. There’s something about her that reads *off* to my brain. She describes everything as “what happened to me,” almost disregarding the actual violent murder of her roommate, Kercher. Even knowing all I’ve read about the questionable forensic evidence and police missteps, there is something about her that firmly places Knox into that psychopathic corner of my mind, and I just can’t shake it.
Maybe Blackhurst and McGinn’s Netflix portrait will change my mind.
Amanda Knox premieres on Netflix September 30th.