With true crime documentaries and shows more popular than ever, especially on Netflix, home of Making of a Murderer, there may be some need to top what's already out there with bigger breadths. Even the smallest stories can be extended to show more background and more aftermath for various contexts -- the sort of substance that makes O.J.: Made in America so remarkably fulfilling. A tighter film or series could have been made about the Cesnik murder that doesn't go so deep into conspiracy theory, let alone a moment when clips of the 2014 Ferguson unrest are featured during a tangential discussion of law enforcement misconduct and injustices. Some of the places it goes might prove one day to be irrelevant red herrings, but for now, for the documentary, it provides plenty of shocking twists and a compelling magnification of plot.
The Keepers isn't that consistent as far as what levels of the story it wants to concentrate on, however. The first episode is a slow and minuscule look at simply the known circumstances of the murder, as presented through the work of two amateur sleuths, women who'd been Cesnik's students almost 50 years ago. Later episodes are more filled with revelations, and then others are more character oriented, centered on emotional individuals impacted by either the murder or the abuse or both. Yet it also repeats a lot over the seven episodes, reiterating points and presenting the same photos multiple times.
The Keepers probably could be half as long and not lose any of what it wants to say or show. Stories with deep levels of complexity don't necessarily require such protracted offerings. Bigger or longer doesn't necessarily mean better.