Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers

The last stop in our journey into the 1980s and our deep dive into the case of the Menendez Brothers is the ABC special, Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers, released in 2017.

Erik and Lyle Menendez (2017)

Twenty-eight years after the infamous murders of José and Kitty Menendez, ABC aired Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers. Unlike previous media that we have watched, Truth and Lies interviews the people closest to the Menendez family. We finally get hear the stories from people that aren’t Erik and Lyle, how they experienced the night of the murders, and when they began to believe the brothers were responsible. In addition to these testimonies we also get to hear from the prosecutor on the case, Pam Bozanich, former jurors, and Lyle Menendez himself from the Mule Creek Prison in California. The immense amount of interviews used within this documentary really give watchers the opportunity to hear from all sides of this story, not just the two brothers. The perspective has always been from the eyes of the brothers, but this documentary and who they chose to interview allows for other perspectives to be highlighted. ABC also chose to interview a wide range of people which played into the effectivity of the documentary. They could’ve chosen to only interview family members or just people involved in the trial, but instead not only do we hear from family, friends, and trial personnel, we get interviews from reporters, psychologists, journalists, police, and the list goes on. All of these interviews make the documentary that much more effective in that they provide other viewpoints with which watchers can look at the case. No one really doubts that “the boys” murdered their parents, but figuring out the motive ended up being the most decisive. After hearing from both sides, those who believe that they were abused and those who believed that the alleged abuse was fabricated, the viewers are able to form their own opinions about the case and its outcome.

There are some details left out of the documentary but appeared in both Kendall Rae’s video and the dramatization such as appearances being so important that when Lyle began to bald at 14, his father forced him to wear a toupee. While other details were forgotten all together. This is to be expected seeing as one media source can’t cover every single piece of information that a case has to offer. Some sources, however, took more creative liberties than others. These deviations are what causes the truth to get lost within the dramatics that come with covering high profile cases such as this one. Between the three media sources that we viewed lies the truth about the case, it’s just a matter of weeding out the theatrics and finding the consistencies between the sources. Like Kendall Rae’s video, this TV special was very informational and like the dramatization, it included a lot of emotional appeals; it was truly the best of both worlds.