Making A Murderer is Netflix’s most controversial series to date. If you are like most people then you have already started (if not already finished) the ten episode docuseries which follows the trial of Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Every episode proves to be full of twists and turns in a story that is completely mesmerizing and at times unbelievable. It has sparked outrage and debates from viewers across the country. Throughout the series, no matter what changes occur and what road we are suddenly lead down through this captivating journey, one common thread can be found in the form of a haunting theme song played over shots of a sparse, Wisconsin landscape.
Though the song has become very popular among viewers, the name of it remains unknown and is not even included on the websites of its composers, Gustavo Santaolalla and Kevin Kiner. The names may not be familiar off hand but you are sure to have heard their work before. Both have hefty resumes under their belts with award winning scores from both movies and television titles such as Brokeback Mountain, Jane the Virgin, and Hell on Wheels. Kiner is also well known for his musical pieces in several popular video games such as Bond Goldeneye 007, Star Wars: Rebels, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. It is the theme song from Hell on Wheels, though, that has people talking. The similarities between the two themes are very noticeable, enough so that Reddit has been overrun with fans making the connection. Others disagree, however, and say that the song sounds more like the theme song from Game of Thrones. Both composers have chosen to neither confirm or deny the borrowing of any part of a song for the theme. Either way, it is clear that it is not exclusively new and is most certainly influenced by the Hell on Wheels theme, which was written by Santaolalla.
The Making a Murderer theme song may have been slightly borrowed from another title track but it has also sparked new music from artists around the country. One such case is a group called The Arcs who have written a song called “Lake Superior” inspired by the trial of Steven Avery. After watching the series the group was outraged at the treatment of Avery and decided to take out their frustrations by creating a song. They finished the song in just two days. With lyrics like “On a stretch of sand, sweet northern breeze/ Manitowac put Avery on the beach/ Your alibi will never do/ When the whole town’s got it out for you” really touch on the core theme of Making a Murderer. All proceeds from this song will be donated to the Innocence Project – a nonprofit organization, mentioned several times throughout the series, that helps to exonerate people who have been wrongly accused.
No matter what your beliefs are on the innocence or guilt of Avery and his nephew after watching this series no one can say that it is not captivating. Making a Murderer is certainly a series that will be talked and debated over for years to come. The theme song itself is riddled with mystery and debate among viewers. We may not ever have all of the answers on the case or the title score. This makes it the perfect background piece for this mind boggling documentary.