'The Jinx' Director on Robert Durst's "Killed Them All" Confession: "I Have No Reason to Believe That's Not the Case" (Video)
Andrew Jarecki explains that Durst knew they kept his microphone on.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for the final episode of HBO documentary series The Jinx.]
At the end of Sunday night's final episode of HBO documentary series The Jinx, its subject, accused murderer Robert Durst, appears to confess off camera to criminal behavior.
In audio that played in the show's final moments — recorded while Durst was using the bathroom, with his microphone still on — Durst, talking to himself, says, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."
The shocking remark was just the latest jaw-dropping moment in the series and occurred less than 24 hours after Durst was arrested in New Orleans on a warrant for the murder of his friend and former spokeswoman Susan Berman, who was shot dead, execution-style, in December 2000.
The series' director Andrew Jarecki made the rounds on the morning talk shows on Monday, appearing on CBS This Morning and Good Morning America. On CBS, when asked if he believes that Durst "killed them all," Jarecki says, "I think that's certainly what he says, and I have no reason to believe that that's not the case." In a New York Times interview with Jarecki and producer Marc Smerling, the director goes further saying that while he didn't have a clear opinion one way or the other on Durst's guilt or innocence before he started working on the doc, "Our opinion now is that he’s guilty. We can’t say that from the standpoint of the law. We can just say that from the standpoint of our opinions."
Jarecki explained that, as The Jinx seems to illustrate, they conducted two interviews with Durst — one for three days in 2010 and another a couple of years later to show him new evidence that they had discovered, specifically a letter written to Berman before she died in which the lettering and misspelling of the word "Beverly" seem to match a note sent the day Berman died, alerting the police to a dead body in her house, which Durst has been suspected of writing. Smerling told The Times that it took them two years to get Durst to agree to this second interview. While they both said they thought it would be tough to get Durst to agree to a third interview, Jarecki added that Durst did call him after the second chat to prod him about what he planned to do with his remarks about the letter.
"He called not long after that to check back in, and it was clear he was sniffing around the question of whether we thought that revelation about the letter was a big deal," Jarecki said. "So he was trying to take our temperature after leaving that interview to see if that was something that perhaps we were going to run off and show law enforcement."
It was after this interview that Durst made his off-camera remarks. Jarecki says Durst, who has a habit of talking to himself, knew that they kept his microphone on.
"We always leave the microphone on him. He knows that," Jarecki added on CBS. But he explained on both CBS and GMA that it wasn't until "months later" that they discovered the bathroom audio. In his talk with The Times, Jarecki says his records state that the bathroom audio was discovered on June 12, 2014.
His small crew didn't have a chance to check every audio and video clip. One of the extra editors tasked with double-checking the audio discovered Durst's confession.
"One of the editors came back and said, 'I think I found something,' " Jarecki said on GMA. He called the experience of listening to it "chilling" and "disturbing."
"I sat there in the edit room with my partners, [Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier], and we just sort of shook our heads, and it took a while to really understand the impact of it. It was so chilling to hear it. It's disturbing to hear it. It makes you very uncomfortable to hear it," Jarecki explained.
The filmmaker added on CBS that authorities have had that audio "for months" and that his team gave it to them "long before" the finale. Jarecki and Smerling talked more with The Times about the audio, and what they think Durst's comments and behavior mean.
"Marc and I both felt that confession in the washroom was really something that came bubbling out of him, Jarecki said. "When you listen to it, it’s chilling because it feels like you’re channeling something from very deep inside a person, and that while he could argue that he was sorry that he did it, the truth is he seemed to be compelled to confess. And I think the confession, on some level, must be a relief to him, because he’s living with these secrets."
Jarecki also said that he believes when Durst said "I was wrong; he was right," he's referring to his lawyer, who didn't want him to be interviewed.
The team behind The Jinx also didn't coordinate with law enforcement on the timing of Durst's arrest, Jarecki said.
"We don't have that kind of power. We're not in charge of the arrest timing, and we had no idea of the arrest timing," he revealed on GMA.
On CBS This Morning he added, "The truth is we hoped that Robert Durst would be arrested as soon as possible, and we were sort of amazed ourselves that he hadn't been arrested for so long. But the authorities were never communicating with us other than in their normal cordial way. They were going through their investigation."
Although Jarecki says he and Smerling didn't have any control over when Durst was arrested, he told The Times he was relieved the accused murderer was apprehended.
"We were concerned that Bob was floating around, and we knew that Bob had been upset about Episode 5. We had anticipated he would be upset about Episode 5," Jarecki said. "The truth is, we had reached out to law enforcement to try and get color about when they planned to arrest him."
The filmmakers were so worried, they hired security, Jarecki added.
"We were in a position we had not been in before. For the first many months we were working on the film, we never felt that sense of being in jeopardy," he explained. "But once that evidence was out there, and Bob knew that it was on national television, it raised a level of concern. So personally we were relieved that he was arrested when he was."
Smerling added that they heard that Durst "was sort of preparing to go on the run. Everyone’s making the timing of the arrest like we had some sort of control over it. But because law enforcement had the information that we had, they knew when Episode 6 came out, there was going to be a real chance that Bob would go on the run. I think that’s what really drove the timing for them, because they weren’t telling us anything."
Also on CBS, when asked if Durst is "crazy" or if a psychiatrist has examined him to that effect, Jarecki said, "Whether he's crazy or not, he's a very, very well-organized, well-financed person."
Jarecki also told The Times that they have continued filming.
Watch Jarecki's interviews with Good Morning America and CBS This Morning below.
2:18 p.m. This story has been updated with details from Jarecki and Smerling's interview with the New York Times.