true crime

Retired Wisconsin Detective Sues Netflix and Making a Murderer Filmmakers for Defamation

Photo: Netflix

In 2015, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos’s Emmy-winning true-crime docuseries Making a Murderer introduced the world to Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, a Wisconsin uncle and nephew found guilty of the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. The Netflix show critiqued the pair’s conviction from myriad angles, calling into question the validity of the police investigation that landed them in prison. Now, according to Variety, a retired Manitowoc County sheriff’s-office lieutenant has filed a lawsuit against both the streaming platform and its creators for defamation, claiming his depiction in the series opened him up to “worldwide ridicule, contempt and disdain.”

According to court documents, Andrew Colborn, who retired in March of this year, accuses Making a Murderer of being “false and defamatory” toward himself and others, specifically by suggesting that Manitowoc County police planted evidence to frame Stephen Avery for murder. He also asserts the show’s editing and other narrative elements created a “distorted” presentation of events that biased viewers toward the filmmakers’ “misleading and false account of the facts.” You can read the full filing here.

“His reputation and that of Manitowoc County, itself, has been severely and unjustly defamed,” Colborn’s attorney Michael Griesbach said in a statement. “He is filing this lawsuit to set the record straight and to restore his good name.” In addition to Netflix, Ricciardi, and Demos, the suit also names Netflix executives Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo, and editor Mary Manhardt.

Detective Sues Netflix and Making a Murderer for Defamation