Sometimes reality is ghastlier than fiction and this is one incident where that’s definitely true. ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ has only 3 episodes that detail the horrifying incidents that somehow ultimately link back to the titular family. A huge chunk of the limited series is focused on telling the story of Mallory. The girl died in a boating accident. But it wasn’t a circumstantial mistake.
The first episode painstakingly and in extreme detail sets up Mallory’s friend group and everyone’s relationship with each other. There are 3 girls- Miley, Mallory, and Morgan. And there are 3 guys- Paul, Connor, and Anthony. However, among everyone’s relationships, romantic or platonic, it is Paul and Morgan's romance that stands out. Not because they are the ultimate couple. But because their relationship shows exactly who Paul is and the monster he became when he was drunk.
It also details how powerful his family is. As one of the interviewees says, “The Murdaughs are the law around here (Hampton County).” Their family has operated the biggest law firm in the area for generations and over time not only have their pockets become deep, but their connections have stretched from judges to the common man who does jury duty. Also, as Morgan says, this family isn't used to anyone telling them no.
It’s fascinating to see how well-connected the Murdaugh family is immediately from the aftermath of the incident. We see Alex and Randolph Murdaugh arrive at the hospital where the 5 teens had been taken to while Mallory is still missing. The two men tell Connor and his family to take the blame for driving the boat. “Alex’s endgame was to frame my son and not his,” says Connor’s father.
But that’s not the only extent to go to. They introduce themselves as the guardians of Morgan while she is in the hospital so that they can control what she says. It becomes clear that the Murdaughs are interested only in covering up the incident and not in finding Mallory. Episodes 2 and 3 are a horrifying tale of what the family does to ensure that their son Paul remains out of prison and how law enforcement was lenient with the family throughout this investigation and others.
These are also the two episodes that are the hardest to watch. But the production team has done a great job of blending in the interviews of the 4 teenagers (Morgan, Anthony, Paul, and Anthony) as well as their parents and others, with real police dashcam and security camera footage of what happened the night before the teens got onto Paul’s boat. There’s also the dramatization of the incident through filmed scenes, but all of it comes together brilliantly to show a tale of how far money and power go to obstruct justice.
Overall, no one needs a reminder of how long the hands of the powerful and rich can be, but ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ will force you to realize the reality of what such people and their money can do.
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