Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Murder Made Me Famous: Aaron Hernandez. The Reelz Television Program



Perhaps because the series is titled Murder Made Me Famous, one should not quibble about how, technically, Aaron Hernandez was already famous before his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. The last foray into Reelz's obsession with the late New England Patriot tight end, Murder Made Me Famous: Aaron Hernandez gives us a few more details on this most tragic of cases. 

Murder Made Me Famous follows the series' format of reenactments with interviews. With soft yet effective if at times overdramatic narration by Brad Osborne, we go through the sordid details. We start with Hernandez's arrest at age 23, then go down through his early years. We see Aaron's violent and volcanic rage would burst out without warning or explanation. 

As we continue down the dark paths Hernandez took, we get some surprising details and actual and shocking crime photos. For example, we learn of Hernandez's psychological profile, which is damning in its evaluation of his poor self-esteem and violent tendencies. We also learn how an anonymous tip led police to find the car tying him to Lloyd's murder. A more surprising revelation is of the three suicide notes Hernandez left. One was to his longtime girlfriend Shayana Jenkins, one to his daughter and one to someone who has yet to be identified.

It is highly unlikely that the third note was to Kyle Kennedy, Hernandez's purported jailhouse lover. Hernandez's suicide closed the case, but not the collateral damage. 

Murder Made Me Famous has reenactments as part of its storytelling, and David Garcia did a good job as the disgraced former football star. Garcia brought Hernandez's anger and drug use effectively, though I do not remember if we ever saw him in any other light (say, a tender moment with either Jenkins or his daughter). 

One curious element was in how when discussing his fascination with thug life while at the University of Florida, we see Garcia as Hernandez posing with his weapon, but do not see the actual picture. Was there a picture? Given how we were shown the crime photos of Lloyd, it seems curious to not see this particular photo.

The interviews give interesting insight into both Hernandez and the myriad of murders he was tied to. His childhood friend Jerome Hardy continues to stay loyal to Hernandez. If memory serves correct, he is troubled by the crimes but also remembered Hernandez in a more positive light. Ben Volin, the senior NFL reporter for the Boston Globe, expressed that after this case, he was cynical about redemption stories. 

Perhaps the best comment is made by lawyer Douglas Sheff, who again if memory serves represented the Lloyd family. "It'll be a good day when the media remembers the name Odin Lloyd and can forget the name Aaron Hernandez", he comments in the opening to Murder Made Me Famous. Here, he captures the lost truth in the many Reelz and non-Reelz stories that recount this most shocking tale.

For all the ideas of "wasted opportunities" that Hernandez failed to live up to because of his own demons and bankrupt morality, there are many people whose lives are permanently ruined thanks to him. Alexander Bradley, his frenemy who testified against him after Hernandez shot him in the eye and left him for dead. Shayana Jenkins and their daughter, now without a father with a tainted past. Finally, Odin Lloyd and his family. 

We can now close out the seeming glut of Aaron Hernandez-related television documentaries and true crime shows. Murder Made Me Famous: Aaron Hernadez tells its story well, if perhaps a bit too dramatically. Still, it is worth watching for those interested in this sad, so very sad, tale. 


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