10 Things You Didn’t Know about A Wilderness of Error

Over the last several years, the true crime genre has really blown up. From podcasts to shows and movies, there is a whole community of arm chair detectives out there waiting for the opportunity to help solve a crime. One of most recent true crime stories to take over the airwaves is the new FX series, A Wilderness of Error. The series looks into the 1970 murder of  a pregnant woman named Colette Stevenson and her two daughters. Colette’s husband, Jeffrey, was tried and convicted for the crime although he has always maintained his innocence. The series takes a deep look into the case and it’s already reignited lot sof new interest. Continue reading for 10 things you didn’t know about Wilderness of Error.

1. This Case Is One Of The Most Popular Murder Mysteries

Many of today’s true crime fans weren’t even alive when these horrific murders took place so they’re unable to fathom just how big the stories at the time. However, this case got a lot of attention throughout the entire 70s. One of the things that makes this story so unique is that murder mysteries are typically crimes that have gone unsolved. Although this case is technically solved, there is still a lot of doubt surrounding the entire incident.

2. The Series Is Based On A Book Of The Same Name

The FX series is based on the book A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald by Errol Morris which was released in 2012. Although the series was inspired heavily by the book and Morris himself actually appears in the show, there are still some major differences between the book and the TV version.

3. This Isn’t The First TV Series Based On The Case

A Wilderness of Error isn’t the first time this case has found itself playing out in a TV show. In 1984, the case was the subject of a TV miniseries called Fatal Vision which starred Gary Cole as Jeffrey MacDonald. Fatal Vision was also based on a book of the same name.

4. Marc Smerling Is An Academy Award Nominee

Marc Smerling is no stranger to true crime and mystery. In 2003, he produced the film Capturing the Friedmans which looked into child molestation allegations regarding Arnold and Jesse Friedman. The film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. He also wrote and produced the 2015 documentary, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. Another interesting fact is that Marc Smerling was one of the producers of the now infamous 2010 documentary Catfish which resulted in a TV series of the same name.

5. The Series Taps Into A Wide Variety Of Opinions

A common theme in many true crime series is that the story will be narrated by one person. However, A Wilderness of Error uses a bit of a different format. Throughout the series, viewers will get to hear a wide range of opinions and thoughts from different experts and other people associated with the case.

6. The Docuseries Is Five Parts

The case of the MacDonald family is certainly one that can’t be told within a small window of time. In addition to the horrendous nature of the crime, there are also lots of other elements that add to the complexity of the case. The FX series covers the story over the course of five episodes.

7. Colette’s Brother Appears In The Docuseries

For younger viewers, 1970 may sound like an accent time, but it really wasn’t that long ago. People who were impacted by the pain of these crimes are still around today and still feeling the loss. Colette’s brother, Bob Stevenson, appears in the docuseries and it’s very clear that it was very hard for him to discuss the situation.

8. The Are Still Unanswered Questions

Depending on the type of true crime fan you are, you may be bothered by the fact that A Wilderness of Error doesn’t really draw a clear conclusion. However, that was intentional on Marc Smerling’s behalf. He says, “I’m afraid you’re going to have to make a decision on your own.”

9. There Is Also A Podcast

For those who are interested in taking an even deeper dive into this case, FX has produced a companion podcast called Morally Indefensible. The podcast is hosted by Marc Smerling. According to the show’s bio, “Morally Indefensible is the story of the relationship between a true crime writer and a convicted killer. Using never-before-heard tapes, found audio, and original interviews, we’ll re-investigate the murders that brought them together, their four-year friendship, and the book that tore both their lives apart.”

10. There Like Won’t Be Any Additional Trials Or Investigations

MacDonald is currently serving a life sentence for the crime. The goal of the series isn’t necessarily to change that. Even though A Wilderness of Error does cast doubt on many of the ways was the case was handled, it knows that the outcome isn’t likely to change.

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