The last episode of The Jinx features some of the most gut-searing footage of any documentary, ever. The first fascinating scene was a confrontation over two scrawlings of a misspelled “Beverley Hills.” One was on a letter to Durst’s murdered friend Susan Berman, a letter he had apparently forgotten about. The other was written on a note he had been reminded of before by director Andrew Jarecki, an anonymous envelope sent to the Beverly Hills police informing them of a “cadaver” at Berman’s home.
After Durst tried to dodge this last interview, it seems insane that he was there at all, sitting at a hotel conference table right next to Jarecki, who it is obvious he had some to distrust. In past interviews, he embodied a suspicious calmness when talking about his long-missing wife and chopping up his neighbor in Texas, but this last interview broke him. When he confronted the two “Beverley Hills” blown up,one on top of the other, his body gave him away. He seemed to burp and slightly convulse, as if his body where expelling something, as if his body were trying to say something in spite of himself. After his short fit, his usually pallid face glowed red, and his voice changed to a quiver. He said he knew he didn’t write one of the “Beverley Hills,” but couldn’t tell which one he didn’t write.
This is a study of someone’s lies unfurling. And, it’s not about being caught with direct evidence and contradiction. It’s a more subtle damning, where the thick air in the room smothers everyone. Words spill out of the mouth, but the truth is in the heartbeats. It feels red, and sharp. This is what chilling is: sitting calmly in a room with a horrifying unspoken truth.
After the awkward and tense interview dissolves, Durst heads to the bathroom. Like a previous episode where he spoke quietly to himself and had to be reminded by his lawyer that everyone could still here him, Durst forgot about his microphone. The shaken man babbled to himself, succumbing to his own private breakdown.
This string of sentences are unhinged and disjointed amid a jangle of bathroom sounds like water running and paper towel pulling. They almost make no sense, but the bit of information and narrative the audience can draw from them is enough to rattle our souls.
“There it is. You’re caught,” he says to himself. “You’re right of course, but you can’t imagine.”
“I don’t know what’s in the house.”
“Oh, I want this.”
“What a disaster.”
“He was right. I was wrong.”
“And the burping.” (On cue, it sounds like he gasps again and has a mini fit like the one caught on camera.)
“I’m having difficulty with the question.”
“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
Jarecki has said that they didn’t discover this bit of audio until months after the interview (at some point he said it was two years in-between the interview and discovery) when they were combing over the footage looking for an ending. He says they immediately turned over the bathroom “confession” to police, who conducted an investigation that led to Durst’s arrest in the murder of Susan Berman the night before The Jinx‘s finale episode aired on HBO.
Of course, someone talking to themselves in the bathroom like this not knowing they’re being recorded isn’t exactly a confession admissible in court. This is more of a stunning capture of humanity at its worst. How often do we get such a glimpse in the private moments of anyone, let alone someone linked to three murders?