Since the show's release, do you know if Glen Gore has responded to the letter Debbie's mom, Peggy, wrote?
Tweel: No, he has not. I'm in touch fairly regularly with [Debbie's younger cousin] Christy, and I feel like she would let me know the second anything like that happened. And I'd probably fly there just to film it.
Series like Making a Murderer and The Staircase have found success in releasing those kinds of updates. Is that something you would seriously consider doing?
Tweel: The legal system is moving so slowly in Denice Haraway's case, and with Tommy and Karl's case, I would be interested in doing whatever I can to see those be pushed forward and accelerated. I'm invested in these cases and in these people's lives, for sure, but whether that nets out into something further, you have to wait and see. I wouldn't want to do anything unless there's a real concrete payoff -- if there was a follow-up, it would have to be very conclusive.
Given the similarities of wrongful convictions -- you also calculate at series' end that there could be as many as 90,000 people wrongfully imprisoned -- why was it important for you to re-examine these cases, in particular?
Tweel: I think [The Innocence Project's co-founder] Barry Scheck says it near the end of Episode 3, in reference to Ron and Dennis' case: It's able to hit so many of the key elements of what leads to wrongful convictions, whether it's junk science, prosecutorial misconduct, Brady violations, coerced confessions, faulty eyewitness testimony -- it has so many of the markers all in one case. And then the fact that you have Tommy and Karl's case, which has these crazy parallels -- whether it's overlapping eyewitnesses, snitches, or the same cast of characters in many places -- it sort of lent itself to being able to flesh them out and tell them simultaneously.
Some critics argue we're hitting a true-crime wall. What do you think about that, and how can other filmmakers working in the genre help avoid that?
Tweel: In general, trying to push the boundaries of the genre and do different things, creatively, is one part of it. But honestly, part of me is like, there are so many flaws [with the criminal justice system] that I think need to be corrected that I'm glad people are becoming a little saturated and it's ever present in your brain that, yeah, coerced confessions are a real thing, faulty eyewitness testimony happens all the time.
One of my other reasons for doing the show is that I see every audience member as a potential juror. So if they have these things in their mind before they go in and become a part of the process, then maybe we can weed out some of the biases or the miscarriages of justice. The other thing I'll say is even though this series focuses on several white guys, I think the vast majority of the wrongfully convicted are minorities. So having more stories about that, I think, would be a benefit.
This interview has been edited and condensed.