Crime Writers On...Serial (& More)

Crime Writers On...Serial (& More)

United States

True crime co-authors and real-life couple Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie chat with noir novelist Toby Ball and journalist-turned-investigator Lara Bricker about the blockbuster podcast 'Serial,' as well as justice, journalism, storytelling, pop culture, and the 'Crime of the Week.'

Episodes

OJ Gets Out, Game of Thrones Groans, Breakdown Returns, A Trace Review  

So that happened...OJ Simpson got early release for his 2007 Las Vegas robbery conviction. After watching the "Parole Hearing of the Century," what do the Crime Writers think? Should the parole board have considered his past arrest in that infamous double murder case when making their decision?

Since every other podcast is talking about Game of Thrones this week, we ask Toby to give his take on HBO's swords-and-sex mega-hit. Only problem is...he hasn't watched the first six seasons, so his WTF perspective is completely fresh.

Let's travel below The Gnat Line with the new season of "Breakdown." Bill Rankin is back with a new tale of systemic breakdowns in the GA legal system. Episode one laid out the case of Devonia Inman. Are we intrigued enough to keep listening?

Next we take a deep dive in the four-part podcast from the Australian Broadcast Company, "Trace." It's "Accused" meets "The Keepers." A woman was killed in her bookstore in 1980. The parish priests, one of whom molested her disabled son, were publicly hostile toward her. The panel weighs in on whether his cold case miniseries has enough "there" there to hold our interest.

In the Crime of the Week - manscaping could have prevented this tragedy.

Episode sponsors:

Madison Reed - Visit Madison-Reed.com and get 10% off plus free shipping on your first color kit with promo code: WRITERS.Thumbtack - To find skilled professionals download the app or go to thumbtack.com.Brooklinen - Get $20 off and free shipping when you use promo code CRIME at Brooklinen.com.Book of the Month - Get your first book for $10 at bookofthemonth.com/crimewriters.Bombas - Get 20% off your first purchase at bombas.com/crime.


Dassey Hopes Dashed, More Ear Hustling, & Making a Mogul  

As David Lee Roth said, "I heard you missed us. We're back."

A one-week break gives us plenty of time to listen to stuff. And catch up on the latest news from the world of true crime.

We circle back for a listen to the sophomore installment of "Ear Hustle." Thank you again to Lt. Sam Robinson for approving this story.

Lara reports on the whirling dervish that is the Brendan Dassey appeal. He wins. He loses. He loses again. The "Making a Murderer" supporting player isn't going anywhere soon. Will the state give him is court-ordered re-trial or just appeal to higher and higher courts? (Sound familiar, Adnan?)

Next we look at Gimlet's new podcast, "Mogul." It tells the story of hip-hop executive Chris Lighty - the most important musical figure you've never heard of. The podcast is part biography/part hip-hop history lesson. Is Lighty's life story strong enough to carry this series and can the podcast appeal to listeners unfamiliar with his music?

In Crime of the Week: A Florida man sits on a gun and then exactly what you'd guess happens.

Sponsors this episode

Book of the Month - Get your first book for $10 at bookofthemonth.com/CRIMEWRITERS.Hubble Contacts - Go to hubblecontacts.com to get your first two weeks of lenses for free.Lola tampons - For 60% off your first order, visit mylola.com and enter CRIME.Audible - Get a free audiobook with a 30-day trial at audible.com/crime.Harry's razors - Get your Free Trial set at to Harrys.com/crime..


True Crime & Wine, Disappointing Verdicts, & Raccoon Badassery  

Love mail galore as listeners weigh in on Ear Hustle, Toby's dog-like voice, and listening to our show during the most important moments of their lives (really!). Then, our take on the not-so surprising (but still upsetting) verdicts in the trials of Bill Cosby and Jeronimo Yanez, the cop that killed Philando Castille. In the back half, we look at a documentary that even Lara Bricker's fire chief husband enjoyed, Sour Grapes on Netflix. This tale of a high-end wine con man had us asking - do we give a crap when a smart guy bilks a Koch brother out of millions of dollars? And in our Crime of the Week, a Maine woman is more badass than we could ever hope to be. This episode's sponsors: Thrive Market - Get a 30 day-free trial AND an additional 25% off your first purchase and free shipping at thrivemarket.com/crimewriters Le Tote - Go to www.letote.com and get 50% off your first month with promo code CRIME Select Blinds - Great deals on window coverings at selectblinds.com. Mention our podcast at checkout. RXBar - Get 25% off your first order at rxbar.com/crime. Use promo code CRIME Podcast Movement - Save $100 off conference registration with promo code CRIME

Ear Hustle Crushes It! Adnan's Judges Get It! & Another S-Town Twist  

What should Toby's standard karaoke song be? THE WORLD IS WEIGHING IN. Rebecca heard something in this week's Undisclosed episode on Adnan Syed's cross appeal proceeding that she REALLY wants you to hear. The judges really seem to get it...we think? S-Town is making SO much news as the trial of Tyler Goodson will now incorporate his part in the podcast as evidence. Should Brian Reed have used tape that put Tyler in legal peril? The panel is split. (Note: This episode was recorded before news of Tyler's arrest for animal cruelty.) Ear Hustle is finally here, and - spoiler alert - it's AWESOME. But we review it anyway. In our crime of the week, Florida Man is back! And he REALLY loves Hooters. This week's sponsors: Thrive Market - Get a 30 day-free trial AND an additional 25% off your first purchase and free shipping at thrivemarket.com/crimewriters MHZ Choice - Free 30 days and 50% your first month at mhzchoice.com/writers. Use code WRITERS at checkout Bombas Socks - They'll be your favorite socks as soon as you put them on. To save 20%, go to Bombas.com/crime Thumbtack - Find the services you from pros in all kinds of industries. Try it out at Thumbtack.com

Adnan Syed & Steven Avery Updates, The Keepers (Wrapped in Newspaper!) Detail & 74 Seconds  

The State of Maryland got its bite at the apple, asking a three judge panel to reinstate Adnan Syed's conviction. The hour-long hearing dove more into Asia McClain and not-so-much into fax cover sheets. What's next for the "Serial" season one subject? We also talk about the latest epic filing in the Steven Avery case. Will "brain fingerprinting" save the day for the man at the middle of Making a Murderer? And what's up with Brendan Dassey's case? Did we forget to mention the CRAZIEST thing that came out of "The Keepers"? Like a particular body part wrapped in newspaper and thrown on the table during the interrogation of a priest? We're backing the train up so we can unwrap (sorry) that one. The Crime Writers spend more than 74 seconds discussing the podcast "74 Seconds" from Minnesota Public Radio. This look at the fatal shooting of a motorist by a cop (live-streamed on Facebook) tackles the familiar themes of race, violence, and law enforcement training. With some episodes exploring the back story of the players in the shooting - and other episodes providing real-time updates from the court house - 74 Seconds feels like two separate podcasts. What's working? What's not? We'll give our review In Crime of the Week: Some wanted men just can't stop the music. How karaoke landed a fugitive in jail. Episode sponsors: MHZ Choice - go to mhzchoice.com/writers and use code CRIME for 30 free days and 50% off your first month Kopari Beauty - Get 20% off your order at KopariBeauty.com/crime. Hubble Contacts - Get 15 pairs of contacts for free at hubblecontacts.com. Storyworth - Get $20 off your subscription at StoryWorth.com/crime

Jeepers! Netflix's The Keepers, Tiger Woods' Fall, and Dede Revisited  

We start with a pat on the back for Kevin, as our spin-off podcast "...These Are Their Stories" has been nominated for Best TV/Film Podcast by the Academy of Podcasting. No one know how or why the show was picked, but they needed 10 to fill out the category, so... Thanks to the many listeners who helped fill in some of the narrative holes left by "Mommy Dead and Dearest." Among the questions answered from last week include facts about feeding tubes, Dede's medical knowledge, and reasons why she was able to fool physicians into thinking Gypsy was chronically ill. Rebecca comments on the media coverage of the DUI arrest of Tiger Woods. Is it the typical case of a hero plummeting to Earth, or is race playing a role in the negative coverage? Then...the show you've been waiting for...Netflix's "The Keepers." The documentary seemed to have everything: murder, sex trafficking, cover-ups. Despite the great source material, did the film makers really make the most of the story that was there? In Crime of the Week, two teachers come to blows fighting over a man. The students can't even... Our sponsors this episode Sock Fancy - go to sockfancy.com/crime and use code CRIME at checkout MHZ Choice - go to mhzchoice.com/writers and use code CRIME for 30 free days and 50% off your first month Le Tote - go to LeTote.com and use code CRIME to get 50% off your first month Audible - get a 30-day trial and your first book free at audible.com/crime Lola tampons - go to MyLola.com and use code CRIME to get 60% off your first order.

She can walk?!!! A 'Mommy Dead and Dearest' review - Is it PEAK true crime?  

The crime writers take on the super weird and (sort of) satisfying HBO film Mommy Dead and Dearest. Plus, we explain why we talk about some podcasts and not others, Rebecca asks our listeners for a HUGE favor, and a listener schools the panel on how to pronounce a certain city in Maine. Then, in the crime of the week, we make a BIG decision about doody. Subscribe to Rebecca's new podcast HGTV & Me! Sponsors for this week: - 74 Seconds - A new podcast by APM - Sock Fancy! - Get an extra pair of socks added to any subscription for FREE when you go to sockfancy.com/CRIME now and enter code CRIME at checkout - MHZ Choice - Try MHZ Choice free for 30 days, and after that you’ll save 50% off your first month! Visit mhzchoice.com/writers and use the code WRITERS at checkout! - Nudu (natural skin care) Nudu has a 20% off SPECIAL OFFER for our listeners. Order TODAY at nudu.com and use promo code CRIME - Select Blinds. Go to selectblinds.com and mention this podcast at checkout!

Serial Justice, Podcast Crushes, And A Big Hand For The Handmaid's Tale  

First: More listener-driven shenanigans Next: The panel makes recommendations for podcasts you should be downloading. They include finishing the long-but-excellent "Crimetown," a double recommendation for "My Dad Wrote a Porno," and the brand new show "True Crime Obsessed." Further: Undisclosed just dropped a special pre-appeal episode about the Adnan Syed case. In it, Rabia poses the question of whether justice is served when the appellate judges know less about the case than the general public. The main event: The crime writers discuss Hulu's adaptation of "The Handmaid's Tale." Is the story about a nation of subjugated woman - forced either into servitude, exile, or procreation - a feminist manifesto? From costuming, cinematography, and color schemes, there's much to ponder. In crime of the week: is it wrong that a topless cleaning lady would be arrested for stealing underwear? THIS WEEK'S SPONSORS INCLUDE HBO's Mommy Dead and Dearest. Premiers May 15 Zebit - Shop with zero interest, zero fees, & zero credit check at Zebit.com/crime. Kopari -Get 20% off your order at KopariBeauty.com/crime. Harry's razors - Get your free trial set at Harrys.com/crime.

Richard Simmons Strikes Back, 'Trigger Warning' Debate, and Casting JonBenet  

We open up the mail bag and let you weigh in on our discussions about "13 Reasons Why" and the former-profiler-turned-podcaster who's caused a bit of a dust-up among our fans. Richard Simmons may have lost touch with many people, but his lawyers aren't among them. The now-reclusive fitness guru is suing the National Enquirer for a story saying he's had a sex change operation. He also says he's being blackmailed by (say it ain't so!) former companion Mauro. If the stories are false, we think it should be easy to demonstrate so ("Your honor, we submit exhibit D."). Then we explore the most original entrant in the JonBenet Ramsey look-back-a-thon. Netflix's non-investigation "Casting JonBenet" features average Coloradoans who think they're auditioning for a movie on the case. In reality, the auditions are an excuse to get them to candidly share their thoughts and observations about the crime. And we get to see kids smash watermelons with flashlights for good measure. In the Crime of the Week, what did the drunk driver know and when did she know it? OUR SPONSORS THIS WEEK Audible - Get a 30-day free trial at audible.com/crime. Le Tote - Get 50% off your subscription at LeTote.com with promo code CRIME. Lola - Get 60% off your first order at MyLola.com with promo code CRIME.

Real-Crime Profile of S-Town, 13 Reasons Why & The War on Twitter  

We needed that week off. Seems like everyone's got a podcast side gig now. Toby's hosting Radio Free Dystopia, Kevin's making an appearance on Jed Bartlet is My President, and Rebecca is a new permanent panelist on Slate's Mom and Dad Are Fighting. Rebecca didn't get verified on Twitter and she's PISSED! In a true crime podcast update podcast update, we'll give our take on how the experts from Real Crime Profile used their profiling skills on John B. McLemore from S-town. For a character who's so beloved, the enumeration of his less-than-desirable traits has stirred lots of feelings. At the intersection of entertainment and suicide lies Netflix's "13 Reasons Why," the most controversial series of the year. Great acting, interesting plot, but is possible to tackle teen suicide in a way that doesn't make the problem worse? Despite earnest intentions to make the show a conversation-starter, there remain legit concerns that the series irreparably sends the wrong message. In essence, everything that makes 13 Reason great are what also what makes it dangerous. In the crime of the week: beware the sniper cat. Our sponsors this week are Chris Gethard: Career Suicide, premiering Saturday, May 6th at 10pm, on HBO. Zebit - get up to $2,500 interest-free credit at zebit.com/crime. Away Luggage - Get $20 of at awaytravel.com/crime - use promo code CRIME at checkout StoryWorth - Get $20 off your subscription at StoryWorth.com/crime

Richard Simmons Emerges! Adnan Syed Update! And Casey Anthony...WTF?  

Did Missing Richard Simmons flush out our favorite fitness guru? The Crime Writers give their take. Plus, Kevin reaches out to Legal Siri (AKA Colin Miller of Undisclosed) to get the latest scoop on the never-ending Adnan Syed appeal. Then, WTF was up with that three-part Investigation Discovery special Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery? Do *any* of the Crime Writers think this case is a mystery? And how does Toby feel about the first I.D. show he's ever been forced to watch? Much less having to talk about it TWICE?? (Listen to Toby on The Blotter Presents with Sarah D. Bunting.) Sponsors for this episode: Bosch Season 3 on Amazon KopariBeauty.com/crime (get 20% off!) LeTote.com - use promo code CRIME for 50% off your first month! SelectBlinds.com - mention our show at checkout for a special deal!

S-Town by Serial: Group Therapy on a Post-Podcast Couch  

The Crime Writers are taking you to church (er...not that church) as we share your love for and criticisms of S-Town (and your criticisms of our criticisms).   Were we made to sympathize with racist characters? Did we miss a deeper significance in episode six? How does the horology metaphor hold up upon further review? Is CWO not intellectual enough for our listeners? Was John manipulating Brian and the other people in his life with a variety of false promises? Would any of this story have been told if John hadn't died? What's it look like inside Tyler's house? (Like this.) In our crime of the week: how NOT to dress for a DWI. Our sponsors this week include Audible -  for a free trial go to audible.com/crime. Hunt a Killer - get 10% of your subscription by using the code WRITERS First Day Back - the new podcast from Stitcher.

S-Town by Serial - Episodes 5-7 recap  

The crime writers review chapters 5, 6, and 7 of S-Town, the new podcast series from Serial and This American Life. The entire series, featuring host Brian Reed, dropped on Tuesday, March 28. This discussion gets a little deep, covering some of the criticism S-Town has faced in recent days. Want to hear our recaps of episodes 1-4? Go back in your feed a little bit. SPONSORS THIS EPISODE Kopari Beauty. Get 20% off at koparibeauty.com/crime. Hunt a Killer - get 10% of your subscription by using the code WRITERS.

S-Town by Serial - Episodes 2-4 Recap & Review  

The Crime Writers jump in to chapters two through four of "S-town," the new podcast series from Serial and This American Life. The entire series, featuring host Brian Reed, dropped on Tuesday, March 28. Watch your feed for recap shows reviewing episode 1 and episodes 5-7. SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE Hunt a Killer - Use the code "writers" MeUndies - 20% off your first pair at meundies.com/crime. Select Blinds - mention Crime Writers On and get free sample swatches. Le Tote - letote.com (use the promo code "crime" at checkout)

S-Town by Serial - Episode 1 Recap & Review  

The Crime Writers review episode one of S-Town - the new podcast series from the folks behind Serial and This American Life. The entire series, featuring host Brian Reed, dropped on Tuesday, March 28. Watch your feed for recap shows reviewing episodes 2-4 and 5-7. SPONSORS THIS EPISODE Serial Killers podcast from Parcast

Missing Richard Simmons Finale Review, Tickled Shocker, And A Breakdown Breakdown?  

After recommending people watch the documentary "Tickled," the response from our listeners was an overwhelming, "What the F did I just watch"? Then a shocker: David D'amato, a key figure in the investigation, "died suddenly" this week according to the New York Times.  "Breakdown" from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution returned with a brand new, er, sound. Season three is hosted by investigative reporter Johnny Edwards and focuses on a doctor who continued to practice medicine despite a series of sexual abuse investigations. Can the podcast thrive without the home-spun voice of legal analyst Bill Rankin? With the conclusion of the runaway "Missing Richard Simmons" podcast, the crime writers look back on the six-part series. What did we ultimately learn about Simmons, host Dan Taberski, and about the feelings we project on celebrities? We'll give our review. In Crime of the Week, being assaulted - literally - by a tweet. (Yes, the actually tweet.) Sponsors This Week MeUndies - Get 20% of your first pair at meundies.com/crime Total Wireless - check out their great cell plans at totalwireless.com. 

Intrigued by S-Town ! Disturbed by Tickled ! And the Owl Theory takes flight!  

What do you do in the middle of blizzard? Record a podcast, of course.  First, the trailer for the new Serial spin-off "S-town" dropped! What will the seven episode series be about? We don't know, but Sarah Koenig's crew gave us an interesting taste and OF COURSE we had to talk about it. Plus, despite taking an Alford plea last month, the Michael Peterson case is not *quite* over. The subject of the exceptional miniseries "The Staircase" is looking into the theory that his wife was actually killed in the stairwell during an owl attack. The claim had been downplayed by Peterson's defense team, and was the focus of episode 1 of the podcast "Criminal," but now they want experts to examine the feathers found with Kathleen's body. At this point does Peterson have anything to lose...or anything to win? Then it's probably the most unusual documentary ever discussed on the podcast. "Tickled," a journalist's look into videos of the sport of "competitive endurance tickling," is NOT the lighthearted romp the title might imply. Instead, the doc takes dark and unexpected turns as the reporter tries to uncover who is behind this secretive video empire and the attempt to ruin all foes in their way.  In the Crime of the Week: Moms + school dropoff lane + maybe too much "Big Little Lies" = gun play. Time to send the parents to time out. Sponsors this week Audible. Listen to their new podcast, Ponzi Supernova, at audible.com/ponzi. Simplisafe. Get a 10% discount when you go to simplisafe.com/criminal. Tripping.com. Find your perfect vacation rental at tripping.com/writers. Kopari Beauty. Get 20% off at koparibeauty.com/crime.

A Richard Simmons Slump! An Adnan Syed Tidbit! And A Review Of Time: The Kalief Browder Story  

The panel is at full strength now that Lara managed to talk her way out of an arrest by the railroad police (yes, there is such a thing). We begin with some voice messages from listeners wondering what the "Up and Vanished" serendipitous conclusion means for the realm of true crime podcasting. We return again to the white hot podcast "Missing Richard Simmons." Are the crime writers still committed to seeing (hearing) this journey through? Then we turn our attention to Spike TV's six-part doc "Time: The Kalief Browder Story." It's a heavy look at the true story of a black teen who spent 800 days in solitary confinement on Rikers Island while awaiting trial of a flimsy robbery charge. Is it perhaps too heavy to enjoy...or too important to ignore? The Crime of Week deals with a politician whose resume is all sizzle and no steak. OUR SPONSORS THIS WEEK INCLUDE: Audible. Get a free trial at audible.com/crime. Total Wireless. Go to totalwireless.com.

State v Adnan Syed (AGAIN), MORE Missing Richard Simmons & HBO's Big Little Lies  

It's another paper dump in the ongoing appeals around Adnan Syed from Serial season one. Kevin takes a look at yet another news-making turn in the case, and Rebecca gives it a big old eye roll (cute the hate mail!). And, episode 3 of Missing Richard Simmons was CRAY. From witchcraft to bitchcraft, we learned Richard's closest confidants f'ing HATE each other. How can we not revisit a podcast that brings up black magic? Yeah...we're SO gonna do that. Then, the Crime Writers examine HBO's newest murder mystery mini-series, "Big Little Lies." Does an A-list cast + domestic noir = another hit? And should the producers stay keep the same killer/victim as the book, or make it fresh for the whole audience? Plus, what we learned in this Crime of the Week: if you live to be 100 you might get a lap dance from your nurse. Sponsors for this episode include: SimpliSafe - get an exclusive 10% discount at simplisafe.com/criminal. Select Blinds - mention Crime Writers On and get free sample swatches.  Harry's - get the Harry's trial set for FREE at harrys.com/crime. HelloFresh - use promo code CRIME35 to save $35 on your first week of deliveries. Total Wireless - check out their great cell plans at totalwireless.com. 

We Talk About 'Missing Richard Simmons' AND That 'Up and Vanished' True Crime Update!  

Can you feel the love tonight? The Crime Writers can.  Plus, the gang dives in to the breaking news about an arrest in the Tara Grinstead case - that's the one featured in the "Up and Vanished" podcast. At the time of our recording, it was unclear what role the podcast played in Ryan Duke's arrest, but did Payne Linsey's grandmother actually know more than the cops did? Next, Rebecca interviews Missing Richard Simmons creator Dan Taberski about why he was drawn to the vanishing of everyone's favorite flamboyant exercise guru. Then the Crime Writers review the podcast: Is it ethical to chronicle someone's withdrawal from public life? What makes Simmons's story so uniquely compelling? Why did someone who gave support to so many individuals seemingly turn his back on them? Also, Kevin recalls his own professional interactions with Richard Simmons. In the Crime of the Week: a squirrel plays guard dog by going spider monkey on a cat burglar.  HELP US KEEP "CRIME WRITERS ON" GOING BY TAKING A BRIEF SURVEY! This quick survey, at podsurvey.com/crime, lets advertisers know that we have a quality, successful, and loyal audience. It helps bring in advertisements for products and services that actually fit you.   Sponsors for this episode include: Tripping.com - search for and book the perfect vacation home at tripping.com/writers. Kopari - get 20% your first order at koparibeauty.com/crime HelloFresh - use promo code CRIME35 to save $35 on your first week of deliveries. Total Wireless - check out their great cell plans at totalwireless.com. 

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