Joe Berlinger has been producing and directing true crime stories for decades. He has two Emmy awards, for his series “Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America,” and “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.” The third installment in his “Paradise Lost” series, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” also earned him an Academy Award nomination.
In 2019, Berlinger directed the Netflix series “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.” His work on the series led to the narrative feature, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” in which Zac Efron played the infamous serial killer. That film premiered at Sundance before it went to Netflix.
The director and producer knew the story of Jeffrey Epstein needed to be told. He set out several years ago, long before the arrest and subsequent suicide of the billionaire, to make a documentary. Originally planning to direct the series himself, the more his team learned about Epstein’s crimes and his victims, the story began to take shape. Ultimately, he asked Lisa Bryant, a producer on many of his projects, to direct. Berlinger served as showrunner and the two worked together to bring to light the fascinating and terrifying account.
This week, we spoke with Joe Berlinger about his work on “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” why he was drawn to tell the story, and whether he believes there will ever be justice for their victims.