The dramatic March 14 arrest of Robert Durst on a murder warrant in New Orleans certainly put the spotlight on the finale of the HBO documentary series Sunday night. That timely attention and the seemingly off-screen audio confession in the final minutes of the last episode of The Jinx: The Life And Deaths of Robert Durst undoubtedly helped the Andrew Jarecki-helmed series surge to hit its best viewership of its six-episode run.
With Durst’s chilling words of “What the hell did I do? Killed ‘m all” as the climax, March 15’ s Jinx was watched by 802,000, according to Nielsen. That’s a 92% leap from the 446,000 total viewers the March 8 broadcast drew, which was the least-watched episode since the series debuted February 2.
All the attention on the arrest — which Durst’s lawyers today said they will contest as more about ratings than justice — took The Jinx to a high, as many expected. With a 6% bop upwards, the finale was basically steady with the 752,000 that the premiere episode pulled in, the best the HBO docu-series had performed. In Live + 7 numbers, the total viewership for The Jinx debut went up to 979,000 – so it’ll be interesting to see where the finale ends up for HBO. In the meantime, the demo numbers are pretty impressive in context also. Among adults 18-49, last week’s Jinx had 174,000 viewers, its low. Sunday’s finale drew 350,000 among the demo — its the best result overall and up a strong 101% from the week before.
First partially shown at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the series fromCapturing The Friedmans helmer Jarecki re-examined the trio of murders that have surrounded the scion of a Manhattan real estate fortune since the death of his wife Kathleen in 1982. While the interview with Durst seen at the end of The Jinx was filmed several years ago, the filmmaker says he only discoverd the apparent confession as editors were going through outtakes about nine months ago. Jarecki also directed 2010’s All Good Things, a drama starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, that was inspired by the Durst case.
Late last week, the LA County District Attorney re-opened an investigation into the killing of Durst friend Susan Berman in 2000. Facing barbs that it was literally a ratings grab, the LAPD said yesterday it had been looking into the case for two years and Durst’s arrest the day before the finale had nothing to do with the end of the HBO series.
Since his arrest Saturday, Durst has been booked and waived his extradition back to L.A. in a court hearing Monday morning. However, even with comments by his attorney today, there is no word yet on when Durst would return to the City of Angels as NOLA police have questions about a gun and drugs found in his hotel room there.