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‘Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias’ Story Recap: What Happens In The Film?

“Bad Behind Bars” is a psychological thriller directed by Rama Rau that narrates the story of how the story of murderess Jodi Arias captivated the world for almost a decade. The film focuses on the prison life of Jodi and her friendship with other inmates, which threatened to derail their lives. The film is based on the real events of Jodi Arias’s life and is made from the perspective of her fellow inmates and friends. It is an ultimate psychological thriller where people’s lives get destroyed by the femme fatale Jodi Arias. The story focuses on Jodi Arias, a murderer, and two of her friends whom she meets in prison and how their lives get ruined because of their friendship with Jodi Arias. The title explains how Jodi Arias continued to do bad things to people while sitting inside a prison.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias’ Story

The film starts with a woman who is being tested on a polygraph machine, named Donavan Bering, talking about her experiences with Jodi Arias. Jodi Arias was an inmate with Donavan Bering at Estrella Prison. Donavan got into prison for insurance fraud and found a partner there named Tracy. Tracy was in jail for a bigger crime and for a longer period of time—ten years—but Donavan and Tracy found each other to survive in the harsh conditions of the jail. Both Tracy and Donavan were unaware of Jodi Arias’ heinous crime of murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis, so they welcomed her when she got into the prison.

In films, prison looks like a place where solidarity is formed by doing illegal things together. So, Jodi was asked by Tracy to do tattoos on inmates as drawing tattoos inside the jail was illegal; one getting caught while doing so could lose one’s privileges inside the jail. The test was also to find out if Jodi was a snitch and had joined Tracy and her team to spy on them. But Jodi passed the test, and she started drawing tattoos. She was an interesting, intelligent woman who could draw and sing well. Tracy gave Jodi the nickname of ‘Songbird.’ As the story progressed, we got to see that Jodi got really close with Tracy and Donavan, and the three became inseparable. They became best of friends, so much so that Tracy even got Jodi’s name tattooed on her.

Inside the jail, Tracy and Donavan had no idea who Jodi was or to what extent people hated her; they accepted her and believed that she was innocent. Jodi used to be very clever with her words and told Tracy and Donavan that she did not murder her ex-boyfriend, and every inmate of hers, who had no knowledge of the outside world, believed her. Over the course of events, Tracy and Donavan were separated by the prison authorities, and Tracy was put under maximum security or in isolation. They were separated because of the cost of having a relationship, and somebody inside the prison had tipped the authorities about them. After a few days of separation, Donavan was released from prison. Jodi had asked Donavan to help her prove her innocence, and Donavan agreed to do so gladly. But the reality started to unfold when Donavan left prison and started learning of Jodi’s crime.

Among the people, Jodi was a convicted murderer who had killed her ex-boyfriend, and Donavan seemed to have zero ideas about the hatred Jodi had received over the period of time. But Donavan’s trust in Jodi made her work for her innocence. While Donavan was fighting for Jodi, Tracy was paying the price. Tracy, in the other prison, was continuously followed and written up by the prison authority and harassed to the extent that she tried to commit suicide. On the other hand, Donavan’s family had cut ties with her as she was helping Jodi. The hatred for Jodi among the common people was so strong that anybody associated with her case was immediately marked and turned to hell.

When Donavan got to know how manipulative Jodi had been throughout, she was paying the price for a lot of things. Helping Jodi almost killed Tracy and broke their relationship off; it cost her job and her relationship with her own parents. Donavan’s faith in Jodi was questioned when she admitted that she had killed her ex-boyfriend. She tried to make up a story as a reason behind the killing that she was being abused as a child, all things that made it hard for Donavan to believe that Jodi was the culprit. Donavan took care of the social media in Jodi’s case to prove her innocence, but after learning the truth, she stopped Jodi’s access to social media and turned against her. Once Donavan stopped helping Jodi, she tried to harm Donavan with the help of other friends. In the end, Jodi was given the verdict of serving life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. And finally, after serving for ten years, Tracy could leave prison and be with Donavan for good without Jodi trying to separate them in any way.

Was Jodi Arias Manipulative? Did Donnavan Get Her Life Back?

Throughout the film, we can understand that Jodi is a manipulative woman who uses everyone for her own personal gain. She was clever with her words, interesting and knowledgeable, could articulate her thoughts properly, and knew what to say at the right moment. But psychologically, Jodi was the kind of person who used to prey on her subjects very carefully and destroy happiness among people. She could suck the life out of a person without the person’s knowledge.

Jodi was an expert at coning people, and Donavan took a long time to understand her actual nature as a person. But she did understand at the right moment that Jodi was putting on a play in front of everyone just that moment, so she could save her relationship and mend things that had been taken from her. Through the film, we can understand how mentally unstable Jodi was, as she became vengeful whenever something crossed her. The film focuses on how Jodi conned everyone and how she continued doing so. Jodi had no remorse or guilt, which is perfectly portrayed on screen by the actor Celina Sinden. The characters of Tracy and Donavan were played with perfection by the actors Lynn Rafferty and Tricia Black, respectively.


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