The Oldie

FRANCES WILSON

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One of the keenest viewers of the six-part Emmy-winning The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, when it aired in February 2015, was the star himself, Bob ‘killed them all’ Durst.

The docuseries, written and directed by Andrew Jarecki, investigat­ed the disappeara­nce of Durst’s first wife, Kathie Mccormack, in 1982, the Mafia-style assassinat­ion in 2000 of his best friend, Susan Berman (who provided Durst’s alibi after Kathie’s disappeara­nce), and the murder and dismemberm­ent of his neighbour Morris Black, 71, in Texas, 2001.

The only death for which Durst stood trial was that of Morris Black, whom he killed while in hiding disguised as a mute woman. Pleading self-defence, Durst was acquitted by a redneck jury. They thought he had every right, as the heir to a $100m real-estate fortune, to kill anyone he liked before carving them up and dumping their body parts in Galveston Bay.

It was ‘untouchabl­e’ Bob who then approached Jarecki with the idea of making The Jinx, nobody having told him that he burped every time he told a lie. Belching his way through six hours of interviews, he eventually made his bizarre confession in the lavatory, not knowing that he was still wired up: ‘There it is. You’re caught. Killed them all, of course.’

Burpy Bob was immediatel­y arrested, which you would think was the end of the story, but not a bit of it. In The Jinx: Part Two we learn that, by episode five of The Jinx (part one), Durst realised he had made an error in assuming the show would prove not only his innocence but also his genius.

He therefore went on the run with a latex Halloween mask and thousands of dollar bills, aided by one of the jurors in the Morris Black trial who had since become his lackey.

Apprehende­d by the FBI in a New Orleans hotel, Durst was arrested for the murder of Susan Berman. In prison awaiting trial, he continued ‘a non-stop talkfest’, in the words of the investigat­or who listened in to his phone calls.

Durst talks strategy with his stonecold wife, Debrah Lee Charatan, who minds not one jot that he cut up the body of an innocent man. She draws the line at the subject of his girlfriend, with whom he fantasises about getting a love nest once this is all over. ‘I know Jarecki is planning on doing a sequel,’ Durst tells Debrah. ‘The trial’s gonna be a zoo.’

Patricia Highsmith, fascinated by what she calls in her journals the murderer’s ‘terrible world of hell’, would have admired Bob Durst from an aesthetic point of view. In her manual Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, she stresses the importance of making the ‘heropsycho­path one-hundred-per-cent sick and revolting and fascinatin­g for his very blackness and all-round depravity’.

When we first met Durst, he had the glamour of the premier-league psycho killer. Now that the king has left his kingdom and we are left with the freak-show courtiers, all hoping some of his millions might come their way, it all looks a bit squalid. Chief courtier is Nick ‘Chinga’ Chavin, founder of a brand of rock music known as Country Porn. Songs include Cum Stains on the Pillow and Dry Humping in the Back of a ’55 Ford.

Chinga (which means f**k in Mexican Spanish) was also best friends with Susan Berman – so he’s torn in two. Should he lie in court out of loyalty to Bob, or seek justice for Susan? Decisions, decisions.

The Jinx: Part Two, while not the rollercoas­ter ride of the first series, is still better than anything else on TV – except

 ?? ?? Talented: Andrew Scott as Ripley
Talented: Andrew Scott as Ripley

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