I missed Primes new three part series The Trouble with Murder last Monday night but thankfully they have this new ondemand thing on the Prime website (Yes, without having to sign up to use Sky’s service) (Thanks NZ On Air) and I was able to catch up. I’d been hearing rave reviews all week from people who had seen it as well as a number of other reviews which had suggested it was a good watch so over the weekend I caught up.
New Zealand’s history is littered with numerous violent acts that resulted in the deaths of innocent people. The public response to how justice was served and our demand for stiffer penalties and how this has impacted legislation is a fascinating story that has been well told with The Trouble With Murder.
The series explores some horrific events in our history with plenty of rich archive footage and how each of them shaped sentencing today. From Edward Te Whiu’s hanging in 1955 which introduced consideration for childhood neglect to the home invasion of the Bouma’s in the 90’s and the arrival of Garth McVicar’s Sensible Sentencing Trust, how we moved from a capital punishment society to three strikes legislation is all covered.
And while how we punish these offenders is a main theme, one of the more interesting aspects of the opening episode was the commentary around Paul Wood, someone who murdered his drug dealer as a teen and then completed a degree while in prison to now be a clinical psychologist. The story of how hope and rehabilitation can work is a fascinating story that often goes amiss in the horrific tales of a life taken.
Murder is such an awful subject and one that often polarises our communities. It is completely understandable how many react to what may appear to be soft sentences for horrific crimes. This series works hard to explain how and why justice is handed out the way that it is and provides a compelling history lesson about New Zealand’s murderous past.