We love to talk about how Netflix and FX ushered in a new era of true-crime television thanks to Making a Murderer and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, but Lifetime has been milking true crime for years now. Amanda Knox! Lizzie Borden! The Craigslist Killer! And they aren't stopping now... because true crime is hot.
Lifetime is developing one of its patented television movies around one of the recent true-crime wave's biggest stars, self-admitted murderer Robert Durst, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Durst was thrust back into the public eye as the voluntary subject of the HBO docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, an excellent program released 2015 and arguably the first true-crime series of this new generation.
Matt Birkbeck's novel A Deadly Secret: The Bizarre and Chilling Story of Robert Durst, an update of his original 2002 novel A Deadly Secret: The Strange Disappearance of Kathie Durst, will serve as the source material for Lifetime's TV movie. This makes the movie fit more into Lifetime's female-skewing brand, as it's told from the point of view of Durst's wife Kathie, who went missing in 1982.
Durst was a New York real-estate heir who was a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Kathie and the murders of friend Susan Berman in 2000 and neighbor Morris Black in 2001. Kathie's disappearance remains unsolved, but Durst was convicted of Black's murder but was later acquitted. In 2015, Durst was arrested in New Orleans for the murder of Berman, and he's currently awaiting trial.
Lifetime's Robert Durst movie joins a long list of true-crime series currently in development. Netflix has ordered more episodes of Making a Murderer, CBS is readying a JonBenet Ramsay docuseries and a Patty Hearst scripted series and NBC is prepping a Law & Order-branded dramatization of the Menendez Brothers murder case.