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A Wilderness of Error: Everything We Know

September 25, 2020
3 min read

Jeffrey Robert MacDonald was an Army medical officer in the US who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters in the 1970s. ‘A Wilderness of Error’ is a true-crime documentary that tries to shed light on this very case. It is directed by Academy Award-nominated film producer Marc Smerling and is an adaptation of Errol Morris’ book, ‘A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald’. It narrates the chain of events leading to one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century. The nonfiction series dives deep into the connected rumors and also the media frenzy that followed thereafter. Let us now explore the details of this gritty show in the following sections.

A Wilderness of Error Season 1 Release Date:

‘A Wilderness of Error’ Season 1 releases on September 25, 2020, on FX, at 8 pm ET. Episodes will land on Hulu the following day. The first season consists of five episodes.

A Wilderness of Error: What is it About? Who is in it?

This FX docuseries dives deep into the 1979 case of an Army surgeon and Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted for the murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters. The documentary not only follows the events that led to this gruesome crime but also narrates its chaotic aftermath — the accompanying rumors making rounds and the media frenzy. Director Marc Smerling explained during the show’s virtual FX panel that the series does not try to establish the guilt or innocence of Jeffrey. It revolves more around the evidence surrounding the triple homicides.

Smerling stated: “One of the confounding things about this case is that it’s a prism. You can look through it one way or another. It’s an incredibly difficult journey to come to some sort of solid conclusion.” Moreover, the show does not give a final judgment on the crime. As explained by author Errol Morris of ‘A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald’ (the book on which the show is based):

“I’m not left with a feeling of certainty about anything with this case. 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” — Deadline.

The material forming the base of the documentary is highly complex. But nothing is absolute. It is left on fans to decide what is real and what is fiction. The entire tale is told through interviews with people directly involved in the case, voice recordings, shadowy and blurry re-creations, and courtroom scenes, following MacDonald’s murder trial.

A Wilderness of Error Trailer

You can watch the trailer for the show below:

Read More: Best Netflix Documentaries Based on True Crime

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