Ten years before Making a Murderer fans started debating Steven Avery's case at just about every water cooler in the country, Monica Davey was just another reporter covering Avery's arrest on suspicion of the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc, Wis. The news came just as Avery was pursuing a $36 million civil lawsuit against a former prosecutor and sheriff, having recently been acquitted of a sexual assault for which he spent 18 years in prison. "There are 36 million reasons why they should be doing this to him," Davey quoted Avery's brother as saying in a 2005 New York Times article. It caught the eye of two graduate student filmmakers, who would spend the next decade creating Making a Murderer. The series has forced Manitowoc to relive its darkest history and has left the county transformed, Davey writes at the Times following a return visit.
While the county tourism office used to field calls about jogging paths and beaches, callers now question why the office would want to draw visitors to such a town. The local police and sheriff's departments, city hall, and even the Manitowoc County Historical Society are forced to listen to "yelling, cussing, and swearing," says an official. As for Manitowoc residents, "the talkative, curious people I had come upon a decade earlier … avoided any talk about Making a Murderer, or simply spotted my notebook and walked away," writes Davey. One, however, said she was fearful of a rally in support of Avery, scheduled for Friday, per WBAY. Even Avery's mother, who ardently defends her son, says the calls for interviews are overwhelming. "I'm too old for this," she says. "It's too much." Read Davey's full piece here. (Read more Making a Murderer stories.)