When Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal premiered this past February, Alex Murdaugh was in the midst of standing trial for the homicides of his wife Maggie and younger son Paul. Thus, by definition, its story was incomplete. Directors Michael Gasparro and Julia Willoughby’s three-part follow-up (Sept. 20 on Netflix) aims to rectify that situation, detailing the investigation into the double murders and Alex’s criminal trial through law enforcement videos, courtroom footage, and interviews with individuals directly involved in the case. Trying to stay ahead of the news, however, is a difficult docuseries task, and for all the interesting material offered here, recent headlines suggest there’s still more to tell—making this non-fiction affair akin to a sequel rather than a finale.
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’s first season thoroughly examined Paul Murdaugh’s alleged culpability in a boating accident that killed friend Mallory Beach, as well as the suspicious demises of teenager Stephen Smith and housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, all of which cast the clan in an intensely unflattering light. Exacerbating that impression were revelations about Alex’s financial malfeasance, his rampant drug addiction, and his habit—learned from his father Randolph—of protecting the family’s legacy by throwing others under the bus. It was a damning portrait, and it peaked with Alex’s 911 call to police on June 7, 2021, when he stated he had discovered the bodies of his wife Maggie and son Paul at the kennels where Paul was caring for his buddy Rogan Gibson’s dog Cash.
Body cam footage from responding officers bring this traumatic evening to vivid life in Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, with a distraught Alex surmising on the spot that perhaps this slaying was related to Paul’s prior boat-accident scandal—the idea being that unnamed parties who blamed Paul for Mallory’s death had come to exact revenge. Despite those implications, focus quickly shifted to Alex himself, and in particular, to his alibi for the evening in question. According to the lawyer, whose family had wielded tremendous power in their South Carolina enclave for a century, he had been visiting his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mom at the time of the murder. He had subsequently returned home and taken a nap on his couch while watching TV. When he finally visited the kennels, he found his slaughtered brood and contacted authorities.