Mapping a Murderer

What do a Netflix documentary, podcasting and video game culture have in common? More than you think.

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This article constructs a transmedia topology of Making a Murderer, mapping ecologies of interaction, participation and creation around this compelling and controversial documentary series, and questioning what authorship means in the (post)digital era. 

At the heart of this are issues of ethics and exposure of real people, as well as the fascinating play and interplay of streaming TV culture, podcast culture and video game culture as they may converge upon a single case of murder.

“The digital milieu into which the Making a Murderer series arrives and the content of the series itself have engendered a fascinating reception for the series by empowered, active, and dedicated viewers. The Making a Murderer series thus becomes the basis for a larger transmedia narrative that sprawls across social-digital networks.”

The authors define transmedia topology as a tracing of what we could call the geography of the text, as defined by its features and boundaries (or lack thereof), and situate the series somewhat uncomfortably amid the category of “complex TV”. 

One of the key elements of this discussion is the presence and impact of this kind of media in the real world: the screen, in this case, is not much of a barrier between fiction and reality. 

Dr Danielle Barrios-O’Neill is Undergraduate Course Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in English at Falmouth. You can find her on Twitter at @superblued.

Alan Hook is Course Director for Interactive Media Arts and Lecturer in Interactive Media at the University of Ulster. You can find him on Twitter at @alan_hook.

Dr Jolene Mairs Dyer is a Lecturer in Media Production at the University of Ulster.