Overview: Chapter 5: “Family Values” Debuted SUNDAY, MARCH 8 at 8:00pm. Present day: In the 33 years since Kathie Durst disappeared, no progress has been made in finding out what happened to her, or finding her body. Without answers, her family and friends continue to hunt for the truth. Here is a recap.
Expectations: The above is the extent of the Press Release regarding the second to last episode of this limited series. Since it is entitled “Family Values” it is clear that it focuses on the Katie’s family and their suspicions and their need for closure 30 + years later. Also time is spent looking at the Durst family as well. Is Douglas interviewed? What telling inside scoop may he reveal? I’m not at all sure how strong a chapter this will end up being. In a portion of his interview will Robert Durst comment on the McCormick family in some unsavory way? Something has to propel this installment.
Gut Reaction: This is a 44-minute installment and to be honest not a lot happens until about 35 minutes in. At first we have Kathie (McCormick) Durst’s family seeking closure including Kathie’s mother and even relatives not even born until after Kathie disappearance. I guess it is polite and respectful to include their feelings, but it really doesn’t move the plot forward in any way.
What was more interesting was the approach to the Durst Organization by both investigators and Andrew Jarecki. WhenKathie’s case opened up again in 2000 investigators wanted to interview Durst family members, but instead met with zero cooperation. Brother Douglas Durst (pictured) and the business totally distanced themselves from the case and Robert himself. When filmmaker Jarecki wanted to meet Douglas and inform him of THE JINX and perhaps even include him, he also got zero cooperation. All this, however, was not really surprising.
As we make our way through the chapter interesting moments begin to surface, but they are still facts we had previously learned, including the discrepancies in Robert’s testimony regarding the night Kathie vanished. It was intriguing how those facts came forward again. It seems Robert hired a criminal defense attorney to, in his words, find Kathie and end all the accusations. That lawyer had a PI investigate and document his findings beginning with interviews the PI had with Robert. Written in a report in black and white and highlighted were the damning discrepancies about the phone call Robert supposedly had with Katie after her train trip into the city.
The most shocking moments happen about 35 minutes in when the story shifts to talking to the family of Susan Berman, Durst’s one-time confident murdered in L. A. This was the murder that no one could link Robert Durst to even though he was in the state of California the night she was killed. Sareb Kaufman, the man raised by Berman, found among her belongings a letter written to her by Robert. It may just prove damning evidence linking Robert to Susan’s death. I won’t spoil its relevance here because you need to watch it yourself. I’m evil that way.
In Conclusion: Simply this late hour reveal saved the episode from showing nothing new or anything very compelling. It is still worth watching. The Morris Black case is over and no new evidence surfaces regarding Kathie Durst. But now something in the Susan Berman murder could blow the whole story apart. Again, a great ending to a chapter that started a bit weak.
If you have missed the “Family Values” episode find in on HBOGo or on HBO on 03.09 at 9:00pm; 03.10 at 11:30pm; 03.12 at 9:00pm & 3:15am; and 03.13 at 12:30am. HBO2 air dates are 03.11 at 10:00pm; 03.14 at 3:00pm; 03.15 at 7:10pm; 03.17 at 9:15pm and 03.21 at 6:25pm.
Next Week: The accompanying trailer will give away the exciting twist as the series comes to its conclusion – ROBERT DURST DOES NOT LIKE THE WAY THIS IS GOING! What happens? Find out on SUNDAY, MARCH 15 at 8:00pm.