SundanceTV Orders Crime Doc on 1959 Murder Case


NEW YORK: SundanceTV has commissioned a four-part crime documentary that re-examines the 1959 murders of the Clutter family, famously documented in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

Tentatively titled Murder in the Heartland: In Cold Blood Revisited, the doc explores the infamous crime, for which Perry Smith and Richard Hickock were convicted and executed. Joe Berlinger, one of the filmmakers behind the Paradise Lost Trilogy, is producing and directing the series, which will re-examine the case. The network has also licensed the rights to the 1967 Academy Award-nominated film In Cold Blood. 

Murder in the Heartland: In Cold Blood Revisited, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the In Cold Blood feature film in 2017, is an AMC Studios, RadicalMedia and Third Eye Motion Picture Company production.

“Joe Berlinger has created a framework to explore this story that has as much to do with the cultural impact of the crime as it does the crime itself,” said Joel Stillerman, the president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV. “It was not just a family and a community that was ripped apart, it was a seminal moment in post-war America that set the tone for what was to come. His vision for this SundanceTV event series gets at the idea that crime, in and of itself, is rarely the most interesting piece. The impact comes from exploring the broader story, and what a crime says about the culture, and how it shapes that culture moving forward.”

“I have long been obsessed with Capote’s genre-busting masterwork, but even more fascinated by the underlying crime and its impact on the American psyche,” said Berlinger, who has been developing the project with AMC Studios for more than a year. “The opportunity to explore my obsession, in light of new information we have uncovered, with a network and brand that I have long been associated with and which represents cinematic quality at its most intelligent is a dream situation for a nonfiction filmmaker of my background.”