Just when the world thought it was safe from Robert Durst, the wheezing millionaire and accused killer terrorized Conan and sent host Conan O’Brien and announcer Andy Richter into a panic Monday night.
Despite Durst’s arrest last week, Richter pointed out that with his money and connections, he could have easily weaseled his way out of prison and gone on the lam. While O’Brien seemed skeptical at first, his worst fears were realized with Durst’s bespectacled head suddenly appeared on camera.
A few isolated incidents quickly escalated into a bombardment as cardboard cutouts of Durst consumed the studio, even replacing Conan producer Jeff Ross and Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band. When the “Durst Alert” finally stopped sounding, O’Brien nervously began closing out his monologue before Durst’s haunting head reared itself once again. “Those glasses are so out of date!” a chilled O’Brien declared.
Durst’s reign of terror infamously came to an end the day before HBO aired the final episode of The Jinx, a docuseries examining the three murders the millionaire had been previously linked to, but never convicted of. While the final scene of The Jinx — spoiler alert — featured harrowing audio of Durst ostensibly confessing to the murders, his arrest was also predicated on the discovery of a letter Durst admitted to writing to one of his alleged victims.
In an interview with Good Morning America following the Jinx finale, series director Andrew Jarecki explained that the incriminating audio was discovered years after it was recorded when a staff member was tasked with listening to hours of stray audio-only material.
“I sat there in the edit room with my partners Mark and Zach, and we just sort of shook our heads,” Jarecki said. “And it took a while to really understand the impact of it. It was so chilling to hear it. It was disturbing.”