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The Viral Celebrity of Attorney Dean Strang

Adam Ryan Morris
Milwaukee Magazine

When Making a Murderer premiered on Netflix last December, it entranced viewers and quickly became a household name. The ten part docuseries follows the real-life story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who was falsely accused of a brutal rape and attempted murder, then charged and convicted of murdering another woman. The series shocked the nation with its in-depth look at how the homicide case was handled in Manitowoc County.

But likely no one was as shocked as Dean Strang, one of the attorneys who represented Steven Avery in his murder trial. After the series premiered, Strang became an overnight celebrity, spurring memes and inspiring articles dedicated to the unlikely paramour. 

This month, he inspired yet another article. Everybody Loves Dean is the cover story for the May edition of Milwaukee Magazine. It was written by Madison writer, Doug Moe, who first met Strang when he moved to Madison more than a decade ago.

Moe says Strang never expected the series would make him a celebrity. In fact, he was surprised to learn that the footage would be turned into anything more than a short documentary on the case. 

"He didn't even know that it was going to be this ten hour extravaganza up until... November or so," says Moe. "Dean thought it was going to be a couple hour documentary, like most normal documentaries are." 

While Strang has always enjoyed the admiration of his peers, the response from fans of Making a Murderer was surprising.

"He did have a conversation with the Netflix people in December before they released the series and they said, 'Well, you know, you may get some media calls,' that sort of thing," says Moe. "It was just, it was phenomenal. He got 4,000 emails from strangers within the first two weeks after the series dropped. It was just unprecedented." 

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2016.