A Southern Scandal on Netflix
Netflix‘s newest true-crime documentary takes a look into the five horrific deaths surrounding one very prominent South Carolina Family. Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal was released on Netflix nearly a month ago, since the end of February, so hardcore true-crime enthusiasts may have already binged the three-part series, but if you haven’t gotten around to watching it, here’s why you’re going to want to make the time.
Just a few weeks ago, on Mar. 2, Alec Murdaugh was found guilty of the gruesome murders of his wife and youngest son on their 1,700-acre hunting property back in 2021. But, unfortunately, their deaths aren’t the only tragedies that have rocked Hampton, South Carolina’s close-knit coastal community in recent years. The story spans years, starting with an alleged hit-and-run in 2015, then in 2017, four years before the Murdaugh murders, another death shrouded in mystery on the very same property, and a boat crash in 2019, resulting in the tragic death of 19-year-old Mallory Beech.
True Crime at its Best
In typical Netflix documentary fashion, the story unfolds throughout three episodes, at about an hour each. While some say Netflix’s docs are repetitive and too long, many happen to be a fan of the length of this particular series. The 50-minute episodes give just enough time for an in-depth dive into the handful of murders. The one-on-one interviews with the countless people left in the wake of so much tragedy and turmoil give the series its success. We hear from family members of the dead and survivors of the crash that took Mallory’s life. Practically glued to the screen is an understatement as you watch the horror this town has endured unfolding and how together, they came to the understanding that one family was at the center of it all.
Corruption and Greed
Money is always at the center of foul play, and if it is not the driving force behind a scandal, it always seems to wiggle its way in somewhere. Money was a big motivator for the patriarch of the Murdaugh family, Alec. Unfortunately, his corruption and greed drove him to unspeakable lengths. The family garnered controversy and was under scrutiny after the accidental boating death of Mallory Beech. Paul, the youngest son of Alec and Maggie Murdaugh, was the one driving the boat and was extremely impaired while doing so, with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.
How the family handled the death of a friend was strange and didn’t sit well with the rest of the community. However, the Murdaughs seemed to care more about covering up the accident and getting Paul out of trouble than Mallory’s death itself. Everyone started to wonder were the Murdaugh’s corrupt? Did they have police officers, sheriffs, and court officials on some payroll? Soon Hampton began to realize that this family had more power over their small town than they initially thought, and if they could cover this up… what else were they willing to do?
As it turns out, Alec specifically wasn’t finished making attempts to bamboozle the rest of the town. First, he was caught misappropriating funds, at the law firm his family founded, to the tune of 9 million dollars and was later forced to resign. Stealing insurance money and trying to hide a 20-year-long opioid addiction also contributed to his unraveling. Then just three months after his wife and son are killed at close range with a shotgun, he shoots himself in the head, hoping to make it look like whoever killed his family came after him to finish the job.
Mysteries Yet to be Solved
There are still missing pieces to the crazy puzzle that is the Murdaughs, like what really happened to Stephen Smith? Rumored to have been having a romantic relationship with older brother Buster Murdaugh, then is found dead on the side of the road. Let’s not forget the shocking and untimely death of their 58-year-old housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield. She worked for the family for 20 years, raised the children, and then mysteriously tripped over one of their many dogs and suffered a brain injury.
Were these murders truly accidental, as the family portrayed them to be? Perhaps not, and the majority of people seem to share that same opinion. However, the trial and conviction of Alec Murdaugh have opened the floodgates on the years of corruption and cover-ups he has been a part of; both Stephen’s and Gloria’s cases have been reopened and are currently being looked into.
Have I piqued your interest yet? If not, watch the full trailer here, and find the series available for streaming on Netflix today.