The FX docuseries A Wilderness of Error takes a deep dive into the case of Army surgeon and Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted in 1979 of killing his wife and two daughters nearly a decade earlier. The series premieres September 25, with episodes available the next day on Hulu.
Based on Errol Morris’ book A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, the series follows the chain of events leading to one of the most noteworthy true crimes of the 20th century. The five-part nonfiction series explores the rumored narratives of the murders as well its media aftermath.
Director and EP Marc Smerling joined author and famed documentarian Morris for today’s virtual FX panel to talk about the crime series. The Oscar-nominated helmer said the series is more about the presentation of evidence than a definitive take on MacDonald’s guilt or innocence.
“One of the confounding things about this case is that it’s a prism,” Smerling said. “You can look through it one way or another. It’s an incredibly difficult journey to come to some sort of solid conclusion.”
Morris expressed during the talk that he has still not made any final judgment regarding MacDonald’s story, which also was told in the book and 1984 miniseries Fatal Vision.
“I’m not left with a feeling of certainty about anything with this case,” Morris said. “There’s a feeling of going back and forth without any real closure. It’s one of the most disturbing things about this story, because we all know in our heart of hearts that real cases should have answers. This case maybe hasn’t taught me there is no conclusion to be arrived at, but it certainly has taught me how difficult it can be to arrive at a conclusion.”
Produced by Blumhouse Television and UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, A Wilderness of Error is part of FX’s new docuseries slate, which also includes The Most Dangerous of All, Hip-Hop Untold and Women in Comedy.
Marc Smerling directed and executive produced the series under his Truth Media production company. Jason Blum, Michael Jackson, Rachel Horovitz, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wisemen and Mary Lisio, Dawn Olmstead and Jessica Grimshaw also serve as executive producers.