HBO’s true-crime miniseries The Jinx came to a close Sunday night with an unforgettable final scene in which the eccentric Robert Durst, speaking to himself in the bathroom while hooked up to a microphone, appears to confess to two unsolved murders. Compared to the wishy-washy ending of Serial, the podcast that The Jinx is most often compared to, this finale left audiences with an overwhelming sense of clarity about the protagonist’s guilt.
It turned out to be a short-lived feeling: As Andrew Jarecki, the creative force behind the series, made his media rounds this morning, questions kept coming up about when various events depicted on the show actually happened, and in what order. It became impossible to ignore that Jarecki and his editing team had been consistently vague about the timeline they’d presented over the course of the show’s six episodes, and that there was considerable ambiguity about when, and under what circumstances, their interviews with Robert Durst took place.
In light of the confusion, we decided to string together as straightforward a chronology of events as we could, based on interviews, news reports, and The Jinx itself.
Early 1982: Kathie Durst disappears.
Dec. 23, 2000: Susan Berman killed.
Sept. 28, 2001: Morris Black killed in Galveston, Texas.
Nov. 30, 2001: Manhunt for Durst concludes in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he is caught shoplifting a Band-Aid, a chicken salad sandwich, and a newspaper. (NYT)
2007: Jarecki and Smerling reach out to Durst, are turned down for an interview by his lawyer. They spend the next three years working on All Good Things. (Hitfix)
Late November, 2010: Durst hears about All Good Things a week before it comes out and approaches Jarecki. (Vox)
Late 2010: Jarecki and Smerling’s first interview with Durst, which takes place over “about three days.” (CBS News)
April 2012: Second interview with Durst. (NYT)
Same day, April 2012?: This is one of the murkest events in the timeline: Jarecki films Robert Durst walking around outside of Durst Tower in Manhattan. The fact that Durst and Jarecki are dressed in the same clothes that they’re wearing during the second interview suggests the two events probably took place on the same day, but we’re not yet entirely sure.
Later in April 2012: Douglas Durst takes a restraining order out on his brother Robert. (NY Post)
Early 2013: Jarecki and Smerling begin speaking to Los Angeles investigators. (NYT)
June 2, 2013: Robert Durst walks up to the front of his brother Douglas’ house, violating orders of protection. (NY Post)
Aug. 16, 2013: Robert Durst is arrested for violating orders of protection (NY Post). Notably, this is portrayed on The Jinx as a big break for Jarecki and his team, who spend a significant chunk of the final episode trying unsuccessfully to get Durst to sit down with them for a second interview. The way these events are presented on the show, it looks like Durst’s arrest gave Jarecki leverage in his quest to get more time with his subject. In reality, it seems like the arrest may have happened more than a year after he conducted his explosive second interview with Durst.
June 12, 2014: Bathroom audio excerpt is discovered during editing of The Jinx. (NYT)
March 10, 2015: Durst leaves Houston in a car, headed for New Orleans (NYT)
March 14, 2015: Durst is arrested in New Orleans. (NYT)