Born 3 August 1954 in Montréal, Makin lived in Malaysia and British Columbia before moving to Toronto to attend Ryerson University in 1976. Graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Makin worked as a reporter at the Globe and Mail from 1979 to 2013, initially covering the environment beat and Queen's Park. He was the Toronto court bureau chief from 1982 to 1986, when he took over the Globe's justice beat. Apart from a one year stint as senior feature writer, he covered justice until 2013. Areas of coverage included the Supreme Court of Canada and the judiciary and legal profession. Major trials covered include the Morgentaler abortion trial, as well as the Paul Bernardo and Guy Paul Morin murder trials. Makin published a book on the Morin case in 1992 (Redrum the Innocent) and hosted a History Channel series re-enacting famous legal cases in 2003 and 2004. Retired in 2013, Makin is a freelance legal writer, a member of the Ontario Review Board and a director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.