The ongoing trial of Alex Murdaugh has every streaming service scrambling to create some documentary about the case. And before we get into this battle of true crime documentaries, take note he pronounces his first name as “Alec” for some odd reason.
I’ve listened to multiple podcasts about this case and have already reviewed Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty. Netflix’s newest, Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, takes a different approach. Which one is elite?
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal focuses on the boating accident
Netflix’s newest true crime documentary I had to watch before password sharing ends focuses primarily on the boating accident. It’s actually the middle of this case. It post-dates two other deaths connected to the family and occurs before the murder. It’s one of the best places to start. The boating accident with Paul Murdaugh behind the wheel put everything else into motion.
In the A Southern Scandal version, we hear a lot from the others who were on the boat with Paul at the time of the accident. Interviews with his girlfriend drive this documentary. We learn about the abusive relationship between Paul and Morgan and how others on the boat felt about him before and after the incident. Paul may take the title as the least sympathetic victim in any true crime documentary I’ve seen. It’s a bit lost in A Southern Scandal how he actually is someone who lost his life.
This approach was fine. However, I felt what makes this such a compelling true crime case was somewhat lost. The boating accident was a huge part of what happened, but other crimes by Alex and maybe even each of his sons and wife, aren’t given enough attention.
Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty is a journalistic approach
Over on Amazon as part of the Discovery Plus package, we have the Deadly Dynasty version of the Murdaugh Murders. I watched this one first because they won the arms race. It gave me more insight into the alleged crimes. It doesn’t gloss over the deaths of the housekeeper Gloria Satterfield who may have been pushed by a family member or Stephen Smith who may have been killed by the eldest Murdaugh son, Buster. It actually looks at those connections a little bit more and we are presented with some evidence and rumors.
What we don’t get in the Deadly Dynasty version is commentary from people connected to the family. I’m not sure it would have made things better or worse to add it in. Deadly Dynasty did seem to move at a much faster pace despite also being three episodes long.
I prefer Deadly Dynasty because A Southern Scandal doesn’t have much new to offer. Despite coming out much later, no real new information comes out. Its focus on the boating accident that killed Mallory Beach is the centerpiece of the newest one. Not enough attention was put on what happened before or after.
Which Murdaugh Murders true crime documentary is right for you
Watch them both if you can. I felt a lot angrier with A Southern Scandal due to the fact we hear directly from family and friends. I don’t remember having the same disgust for the Murdaugh Family when I watched Deadly Dynasty, possibly because it was fresher in my head. Not to mention true crime journalists tend to make light of even the most heinous crimes.
For a more fun and informative documentary, go with Deadly Dynasty. For one that’ll hit you in the feels, A Southern Scandal is more your style.