• Toby Ball didn't watch all of Interrogation, CBS All-Access's new choose-your-own-watch-order procedural (based, evidently, on a real case); I did; we both have some of the same issues with the "hook" of shuffled episodes -- and I had MAJOR issues with the ending. Was an all-star cast wasted on a project that doesn't really know what it's trying to do?
    Later, we talked about an episode of The Power Of Attorney, a podcast from Rutgers Law School, that talks to the guy on whose case Interrogation might be based: exoneree and marathoner Huwe Burton. Alas, that podcast doesn't talk to Burton enough, and while it's a solid overview of how false confessions come about -- and a clever idea for a podcast overall -- we're not sure this treatment of the material works either. But we also talk about David Simon's many contributions to the genre, so have a listen to The Blotter Presents, Episode 131.
    Interrogation (https://www.cbs.com/shows/interrogation/) on All Access
    TV Guide’s Noel Kirkpatrick (https://www.tvguide.com/news/interrogation-review-cbs-all-access-kyle-gallner/) on why the shuffled structure makes the show hard to plug into
    The Power Of Attorney, Episode 4 (https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-the-power-of-attorney-53671210/episode/4-the-failures-of-our-criminal-53717271/)
    Huwe Burton on Real Sports (https://www.hbo.com/real-sports-with-bryant-gumbel/all-episodes/november-2019)
    New York Times coverage of Burton’s exoneration (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/nyregion/huwe-burton-exoneration-bronx-murder.html)
    Toby’s Deep Dive book club on the CWO Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/partnersincrimemedia)
    Best Evidence (http://bestevidence.fyi)

  • Stephanie Early Green is back to discuss the usual complement of light, fizzy fare! ...Okay, no: our first Most Wanted conversation is about Amazon's new Ted Bundy docuseries, Falling For A Killer. Does it succeed in subtracting Ted Bundy from all the secondary stories of grief and horror he created? Should the filmmaker have spun off another series on women in '70s law enforcement? And what exactly happened between Bundy and Molly Kendall?
    We KNOW what happened between Shelly Knotek and her children (and luckless boarders) in Gregg Olsen's mercilessly detailed If You Tell -- but Olsen doesn't do as much with the hows and whys as we'd like. Olsen's book reads fast, but not so fast that we didn't wonder why certain figures in this tale of gaslighting and abuse weren't taken to firmer task. (And why his editor didn't cut that awful eagle simile.) It might seem like nothing good comes out of Washington State in The Blotter Presents, Episode 130.
    [Content warning: this episode's materials involve sexual trauma, child abuse, and...well, Ted Bundy. Please listen with care.]
    Ted Bundy: Falling For A Killer https://www.amazon.com/Ted-Bundy-Falling-Killer-Season/dp/B082FPGQD8
    If You Tell https://www.amazon.com/If-You-Tell-Unbreakable-Sisterhood/dp/B07TNTB329
    Stephanie Early Green's blog http://www.stephanieearlygreen.com
    Best Evidence: bestevidence.fyi (http://bestevidence.fyi/)
    And our sponsor, Lola! http://mylola.com

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  • First-time guest David J. Roth and I came late to the discussion of Killer Inside: The Mind Of Aaron Hernandez...only to realize that the discussion we DID have didn't require us to watch KI:TMOAH, which is well made and yet not made the best way for the material. We also talked about responsibility vs. indemnity; Bill Belichick's trademark grey reluctance; and the untitled Mike Massey project we're hoping comes out in 2021.Our Cold Case topic, The Tillman Story, is more successful, even as it brings us back to a "dumb, shitty" time in recent American history. Pat Tillman's death may not qualify as a true-crime subject, but Army cover-ups -- and how predictable they are -- might. Jon Krakauer, Tom Brady, and two NFL stars with very different untimely demises: it's The Blotter Presents, Episode 129.[Content warning: this episode addresses suicide, and there is some gore. Please listen with care.]SHOW NOTESKiller Inside: The Mind Of Aaron Hernandez https://www.netflix.com/watch/81090138Sports Illustrated review: Docuseries too reliant on speculation https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2020/01/16/aaron-hernandez-netflix-docuseries-reviewBlotter Brief 2 on the Gladiator podcast: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349338-blotter-brief-2-gladiator-aaron-hernandez-and-football-incThe Tillman Story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz2jtO0GvI4&feature=youtu.beTravers review of The Tillman Story for Rolling Stone https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-reviews/the-tillman-story-251351/Dave and Jeb Aren't Mean https://daveandjebarentmean.libsyn.com/Dave Roth on Twitter http://twitter.com/david_j_rothBest Evidence: bestevidence.fyi (http://bestevidence.fyi/)

  • Piper Weiss and I waded into basic cable's accidental anthropology this week, starting with MTV's new extension of a heritage non-fiction show, True Life Crime. It's got potential, and we'll keep watching, but we couldn't help wondering if the network was giving a lot of Dateline-y notes -- and if the show in its original inception involved a lot more of the late Zachary Stoner.
    Later, we looked at Love/Life After Lockup, and questioned WEtv's intentions. Is it trying to make an acerbic comment on the American incarceration industrial complex, or the unintended consequences of mandatory sentencing and the opioid crisis? Or that a coincidence arising from the filming of various figurative emotional trainwrecks? Either way, we're voting B for president in The Blotter Presents, Episode 128.
    [Content warning: this episode addresses child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and suicide. Please listen with care.]
    True Life Crime (http://www.mtv.com/shows/true-life-crime)
    William Lee from the Trib: the Kenneka Jenkins case was "never a murder mystery" (https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-kenneka-jenkins-mtv-commentary-20200109-wefnlw5vfzgshcshu6gazx25ri-story.html)
    Life After Lockup (https://www.wetv.com/shows/life-after-lockup)
    LAL's Lacey implies that husband Shane has gotten violent (https://allaboutthetea.com/2020/01/12/love-after-lockup-shane-beat-lacey/) with her
    Piper on Twitter (http://twitter.com/thepiperweiss)
    Best Evidence: bestevidence.fyi (http://bestevidence.fyi/)
    And of course my sponsor, Feals (http://www.feals.com) !

  • Mark Blankenship discussed the first season of Surviving R. Kelly on the podcast, and kindly returned to unpack the second season. Is the additional testimony, and our bearing witness, the point? Could a different organizational strategy have made Part 2 more effective? And what drives the people who take to the streets with signs to defend Kelly and his ilk?
    Later, we talked about singer-songwriter Allison Moorer's memoir of her parents' tragic deaths, Blood: A Memoir. Mark read the book and I listened to it, and these contrasting experiences of the text led to a conversation about the spaces in narrative, whether sometimes physical text is more "musical" than when it's spoken, and how to write yourself as a child. 
    [Content warning: this episode addresses child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and suicide. Please listen with care.]
    Surviving R. Kelly: https://www.mylifetime.com/shows/surviving-r-kelly
    Episode 080 on SRK Part 1: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349303-080-surviving-r-kelly-and-behind-the-music
    Elaine Weiss reads from The Woman's Hour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnaYTC9r2Mg
    Blood: A Memoir: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0306922681/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0306922681&linkCode=as2&tag=blotterpresen-20&linkId=3a7fdd7f2c2eb5c9c14156eca4391dc2
    My review of The Reckoning for Primetimer: https://www.primetimer.com/features/dont-look-away-from-surviving-r-kelly-part-ii-the-reckoning
    The Showtune Countdown: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/1248-the-showtune-countdown-50444773/
    Best Evidence: bestevidence.fyi

  • All the true-crime properties that were worth MY time last year, from The Act to Zeman. "Special" "appearance" by Bear E. Williams!
    Abducted In Plain Sight: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349289-brief-36-abducted-in-plain-sight
    “Caught Up In The Act” on Primetimer: https://www.primetimer.com/features/caught-up-in-the-act
    At The Heart Of Gold: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349273-095-at-the-heart-of-gold-and-cold
    Bundyville: The Remnant: https://longreads.com/bundyville/
    Catch & Kill: https://blotterpresents.substack.com/p/november-bonus-book-review-catch
    Down City: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349260-108-down-city-and-the-fbi-files-yahweh-ben-yahweh
    The Inventor: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349281-089-the-inventor-and-children-of-the-snow
    Leaving Neverland: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349284-087-leaving-neverland-and-the-skye-borgman-interview
    Murder Mountain: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349295-083-murder-mountain-and-the-weather-underground
    Norco ’80: https://blotterpresents.substack.com/p/august-bonus-book-review-1-norco
    Savage Appetites: https://audioboom.com/posts/7447885-124-detective-trapp-and-savage-appetites
    Say Nothing: https://blotterpresents.substack.com/p/december-2019-bonus-book-review-say
    Surviving R Kelly: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349303-080-surviving-r-kelly-and-behind-the-music
    Tell Me Who I Am: https://time.com/5706370/tell-me-who-i-am-netflix-true-story/
    Unbelievable: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/16/an-unbelievable-story-of-rape
    We Are Columbine: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349275-093-we-are-columbine-and-most-notorious-on-adolph-coors-iii
    When They See Us: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349269-099-when-they-see-us-and-who-killed-nancy
    ...and of course Best Evidence: bestevidence.fyi

  • Jeb Lund returns, but probably wishes he hadn't, because we're talking about Apple TV's Truth Be Told, a property that may think it brings Serial to mind, but is actually a lot more in line with the estranged-from-reality journalisming of one Brandon Walsh. Have the creators never watched even part of a procedural? Why does the series contain EVERY possible story about this family? And is every agent involved getting fired?
    It's bad, is our point. 2018 Netflix series Dark Tourist is better, but it's still muddled as to whether it's trying to comment on the dark-tourism industry -- and its consumers -- or participate in it, or both. We're also not 100 on whether Jeffrey Dahmer is the quintessentially American killer...or just the easiest target. Wasted opportunities abound, but we might save you from wasting your time in The Blotter Presents, Episode 125.
    Visit my sponsor, Lola! (Don't forget the code!) http://mylola.com
    Truth Be Told: https://wondery.com/shows/detective-trapp (https://wondery.com/shows/detective-trapp/)
    Dark Tourist E03, "The United States": https://amzn.to/2P5XfxS
    This American Life 385 (Jon Ronson): https://www.thisamericanlife.org/385/pro-se
    Dave And Jeb Aren't Mean: https://daveandjebarentmean.libsyn.com/

  • The latest L.A. Times/Wondery joint project from the Dirty John team, Detective Trapp, may be a podcast in search of a Sunday magazine; Kevin Smokler and I talk about old-media effortfulness, why "merely good" is sometimes great," and narrative choices. The same topics come up again when we look at Rachel Monroe's Savage Appetites, as we ponder difficulty ratings in non-fiction, the power of teenage girls, and how Monroe makes "old" crimes new again. In a nutshell (not that kind), that's The Blotter Presents, Episode 124.
    A year of Best Evidence (http://bestevidence.fyi/) is just $52, now 'til 12/15!
    Visit my sponsor, Zola! (Don't forget the code!) zola.com/blotter
    Detective Trapp: https://wondery.com/shows/detective-trapp (https://wondery.com/shows/detective-trapp/)
    Rachel Monroe’s Savage Appetites: https://amzn.to/2P5XfxS
    Susan Douglas’s Where The Girls Are: https://amzn.to/2YwD4fM
    Kevin Smokler’s website: kevinsmokler.com (https://www.netflix.com/title/80213588)

  • It's a six-pack of DVR clutter this week as I let you know what I'm granting a continuance...or a motion to dismiss. Netflix's latest on Henry Lee Lucas, plus a Frontline on a predator on the reservation, a doc on Oakland PD, the continuing fascination with the murder of Martha Moxley, yet more JonBenét Ramsey theories, and a new hope for the oldest profession. Get ready for some justifiable deletions, people: it's The Blotter Presents, Episode 123.
    A year of Best Evidence (http://bestevidence.fyi) is just $52, now 'til 12/15!
    Murder & Justice: The Case Of Martha Moxley // https://www.oxygen.com/murder-and-justice-the-case-of-martha-moxley/season-1/mourning-in-greenwich?autoPlay=1
    Dominick Dunne on Martha Moxley // https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2000/10/dominick-dunne-martha-moxley-murder-greenwich
    New York on Dunne vs. RFK Jr. // https://nymag.com/nymetro/news/crimelaw/features/n_8816/
    Timothy McVeigh: In Defense Of // https://www.oxygen.com/timothy-mcveigh-in-defense-of/videos
    POV S32E14, "Blowin' Up" // http://www.pbs.org/pov/watch/blowinup/video-blowin-up/
    Hunting JonBenet's Killer: The Untold Story // https://www.aetv.com/specials/hunting-jonbenets-killer-the-untold-story/full-special
    Independent Lens, "The Force" // https://www.netflix.com/title/80168198
    Frontline S37E12, "Predator On The Reservation" // https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/predator-on-the-reservation/
    The Confession Killer // https://www.netflix.com/title/80213588

  • [CONTENT WARNING: language; discussion of child sexual abuse investigation]
    Toby Ball is back to talk about two fairly recent podcasts: the first, a departure from politics for Slow Burn, as the podcast's third season delves into the still-unsolved murders of Notorious BIG and Tupac Shakur. Am I too impatient with a project that is, after all, called "Slow Burn" -- or are the attempts to give far wider context to these murders too unfocused? And ARE these killings ever going to get solved? Later, we confront Hunting Warhead, a CBC/VG joint venture about a white-hat hacker's investigation into child pornography consumers in Norway that got much bigger...and as the podcast goes on, the story gets much, much darker. Is the excellent reporting worth the harrowing experience of listening? 
    Slow Burn Season 3 https://slate.com/podcasts/slow-burn/s3/biggie-and-tupac
    Ep 22 on Biggie: The Life Of Notorious BIG https://audioboom.com/posts/7349398-episode-22-022-biggie-the-life-of-notorious-b-i-g-and-gesualdo-death-for-five-voices
    Ep 47 (with Toby Ball) on Unsolved https://audioboom.com/posts/7349366-episode-54-047-unsolved-and-the-family
    Connie Bruck in The New Yorker: "The Takedown Of Tupac" (and now that I've reread it, I think it absolutely informs Slow Burn's third ep https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1997/07/07/the-takedown-of-tupac
    Ep 50 on In Ice Cold Blood https://audioboom.com/posts/7349363-episode-57-050-in-ice-cold-blood-and-mysteries-scandals
    Hunting Warhead https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/hunting-warhead/index.html
    Crime Writers On… http://www.crimewriterson.com (http://www.crimewriterson.com/)

  • Stephanie Green is back to discuss Netflix's latest original docuseries, The Devil Next Door, in which John Demjanjuk may or may not have been a Nazi extermination camp's Ivan The Terrible...and his true identity may or may not have been the point of the series. How is trauma "remembered"? Why did the U.S. consider some war criminals "useful"? And what did Demjanjuk really do between 1942 and 1952? Later, we talk about two different takes on crowd-solving cold cases: CrimeCon's "true crime experience," CrowdSolve; and the Vidocq Society. The Crime Report's piece on the former raised more questions than it answered, but The Telegraph's 2009 overview of the latter had me and Stephanie wondering if a hybrid isn't advisable. The panel will not be taking questions on Jack The Ripper; it's The Blotter Presents, Episode 121.
     The Devil Next Door: https://www.netflix.com/title/80201488
    Netflix to amend docuseries following complaints from Polish government: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/nov/15/netflix-to-amend-holocaust-documentary-after-complaints-from-polish-government
    "My Weekend As An Amateur Cold Case Detective": https://thecrimereport.org/2019/11/12/my-weekend-as-an-amature-cold-case-detective/
    "The Vidocq Society: Murder on the menu": https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/3489805/The-Vidocq-Society-Murder-on-the-menu.html
    "Crowdsourcing Criminal Investigations in the Digital Age": https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2014/07/01/cold-cases-criminal-investigations
    Stephanie Early Green's site: http://stephanieearlygreen.com
    The Blotter Presents's sponsor, Zola: zola.com/blotter (https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2014/07/01/cold-cases-criminal-investigations)

  • The Preppy Murder is Sundance's five-part look at the murder of Jennifer Levin by Robert Chambers, and how it gripped New York City for years starting in August of 1986. Guest Piper Weiss and I remember those headlines well, but the miniseries corrects our memory on some points -- though we're still not sure why this is coming out now, or why Linda Fairstein's participation isn't asterisked in some way. In the Cold Case section, Piper and I revisit one segment of Zeman and Mills's Killer Legends, with Piper theorizing on why the "call coming from inside the house" urban legend gained traction and both of us recommending Zeman's Cropsey. We also talk about ghost apps, snack diplomacy, and more in The Blotter Presents, Episode 120.
     The Preppy Murder: Death In Central Park: https://www.sundancetv.com/shows/the-preppy-murder-death-in-central-park/season-1/episode-01-woman-down-in-central-park
    The book I loaned to Piper: https://www.amazon.com/Wasted-Inside-Robert-Chambers-Jennifer-Murder/dp/1504030370
    Michael Stone's NYMag cover story: https://nymag.com/news/features/crime/48262/
    Killer Legends: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B00M4QPDMI/ref=atv_dl_rdr?autoplay=1 
    Contemporary coverage of Janett Christman's murder: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/3930183/janett_christman_1950_missouri/
    Mueller's suit against local law enforcement: https://openjurist.org/203/f2d/797/mueller-v-powell
    Piper's book You All Grow Up And Leave Me, now in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/You-All-Grow-Leave-Obsession/dp/006245658X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

  • It's another Wondery podcast up top this week -- I'll try not to make a habit of it -- as guest Eve Batey and I contemplate American Elections: Wicked Game. Eve thinks the deep weekly dive into every single U.S. election, and the adjacent chicanery/felon...ery (?), might have worked better with visuals, while I confess I've still never seen/heard Hamilton but think the podcast is primed to get really good with a few tweaks. But is it crimey enough? We'll compare it to existing properties so you can decide.
    In the Cold Case section, Eve makes her pitch to turn 2015 documentary The Fear Of 13 into a podcast instead. Is Nick Yarris's highly personal Spalding Gray-esque tale intimate and credible, or strained and stagey? Is it...both? And who should play him in the scripted version? Philly accents, that notorious milk ad, and yes, the cutting of cheese: it's The Blotter Presents, Episode 119.
    [Editor's note: Apologies for residual barking that I couldn't scrub out of the track. Mr. Bear E. Williams is not always a good dog.]
    SHOW NOTES American Elections: Wicked Game: https://wondery.com/shows/american-elections-wicked-game (https://wondery.com/shows/american-elections-wicked-game/) /
    The Presidential podcast from WaPo: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/podcasts/presidential/
    Irving Stone's Those Who Love: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/68775.Those_Who_Love
    Jon Meacham's American Lion: Andrew Jackson In The White House: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3147367-american-lion
    The Fear of 13: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80099305
    Nick Yarris talks to The Innocence Project about The Fear Of 13: https://www.innocenceproject.org/yarris-discusses-fear-of-13/
    Still not subscribed to Best Evidence? Check it out: bestevidence.fyi

  • I'm on my own for a round-up episode, reviewing 1) the latest from Wondery and Dr. Death's Laura Beil, Bad Batch; 2) a documentary about twin mind and malleable memory, Tell Me Who I Am, that just hit Netflix; and 3) a 2017 crime-oir, Sarah Perry’s After The Eclipse.SHOW NOTESBad Batch: https://wondery.com/shows/bad-batch/Tell Me Who I Am: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80214706 (https://www.netflix.com/watch/80214706?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C0%2C7762b4ae-8a69-407c-b8b4-d212ec29bfd1-52923659%2C%2C)After The Eclipse: https://amzn.to/2Nm8Uqq (http://nytimes.com/2019/10/18/arts/television/leavenworth-review.html)The Forensic Files ep on Crystal Perry's case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TfyjF4b1IE

  • The five-part documentary series from Starz, Leavenworth, looks at the very complicated case of Clint Lorance, and after the first episode, guest Jeb Lund and I were a little impatient with the painstaking set-up -- but mostly because we wanted more of the textured, compelling stories that all converge on a single incident in 2012. Will we keep watching? And should you?
    Later, we revisit what's probably an all-time top-ten true-crime topic: the 1962 escape from Alcatraz, this time as considered by Phoebe Judge on Criminal. I'm seldom NOT going to recommend a Criminal episode, and this one's no different -- so why is that? What sets Criminal's treatment of this well-trodden ground apart? And what do Jeb and I think happened to the three who got out? Dig, dash, dive into The Blotter Presents, Episode 117.
    Leavenworth on Starz: https://www.starz.com/series/leavenworth/featured
    Daniel Fienberg for THR on Leavenworth: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/leavenworth-review-1248478
    Mike Hale for the Times: nytimes.com/2019/10/18/arts/television/leavenworth-review.html
    Dr. Nathaniel Frank, Unfriendly Fire: https://amzn.to/2oUAB1o
    Dexter Filkins, The Forever War: https://amzn.to/2BuIfCe
    Ep 078 on Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/078-leah-remini-scientology-aftermath-apostate/id1213321943?i=1000425653050
    Criminal #77, "The Escape": https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-77-the-escape-10-20-2017/
    Spitting Image IS getting a reboot: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-49865406

  • Paul Holes joins the Oxygen family with The DNA Of Murder; Blotter Holes-ologist Mike Dunn joins me again to talk about the new show, and whether it's really anything new at all. Was local law enforcement just waiting around for Holes and Yolanda McClary to help them out on the Burkert/Atkison case? Why didn't anyone catch the toothpaste detail before? And why can't two criminologists make their theory of the actual crime make sense?
    Later, we discuss another project headed up by two criminologists: Direct Appeal, in which two Fairleigh Dickinson criminology profs agree to look into Melanie McGuire's case, even though she's still appealing her conviction for her husband's murder (and dismemberment). The set-up's got a lot of potential, but a couple of structural decisions may have led to a disappointing result, though we hope Professors Shlosberg and Sacks take a run at another case...and we hope you'll take a run at The Blotter Presents, Episode 116.
    The DNA of Murder: https://www.oxygen.com/dna-of-murder
    Iowa Cold Cases site summary of the case: https://iowacoldcases.org/case-summaries/rose-burkert-and-roger-atkison/
    Direct Appeal: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/direct-appeal/id1462493685
    Murderpedia's Melanie McGuire page: http://murderpedia.org/female.M/m/mcguire-melanie.htm
    Mike and I discuss I'll Be Gone In The Dark in Ep 048: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349365-episode-55-048-the-golden-state-killer-it-s-not-over-and-i-ll-be-gone-in-the-dark

  • New "con-gregational" podcast Scam Goddess kicked off last week with Paul F. Tompkins joining host Laci Mosley to talk about Anna Delvey, and Stephanie Early Green joined ME to talk about the newest comedy-convo crime pod on the block. How is it possible PFT never heard of Anna Delvey/Sorokin? Do comedy podcasts about true crime need to be better researched? And did you expect to get a wire-transfer primer on The Blotter Presents? Spoiler: you get one, "you're welcome."
    Later, we contemplated the long-running, impatience-making Ghost Adventures franchise's miniseries foray into serial killers, Serial Killer Spirits, and its premiere on H.H. Holmes. Unintentional hilarity aside, is this a show for true-crime fans, or does it lack context? What do those instruments actually do? And what is Samantha StarBrite's...whole deal? Even a ghost-hunting show has opportunities to make interesting connections, but the only connection we made to this one was with the delete button on the DVR, in an all-new The Blotter Presents.
    Scam Goddess: https://www.earwolf.com/episode/scam-goddess-with-laci-mosley/
    Nash/Cons and Con Men: https://amzn.to/2AQo2Xc
    Anna Delvey Court Looks Insta: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxQOhGHl4Jv/
    Williams's VF piece: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/04/my-misadventure-with-the-magician-of-manhattan
    My review of Williams's book, My Friend Anna, on the Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/posts/29589407
    Ghost Adventures: SKS: https://www.travelchannel.com/shows/ghost-adventures
    Episode 015 with Toby Ball on HH Holmes: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349405-episode-15-015-h-h-holmes
    The Haunting Of…'s Illeana Douglas episode: https://www.mylifetime.com/shows/the-haunting-of/season-3/episode-10
    Stephanie Early Green's story, "Host Mother," in the Chicago Tribune: https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/books/literary-awards/ct-books-algren-awards-2019-finalist-story-stephanie-green-20190720-yyahgv6wejfhnodflm2idtf3jq-story.html

  • Toby Ball and I took on two newish podcasts this week: the first from WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times, Motive, looks at the strange case(s) of TJ Jimenez. But is a competent, ambling narrative -- one that might have worked better as a longform magazine piece -- enough during peak true-crime?
    Unraveled returned with a fourth season last month, and we're talking about that season, "Snowball," in the second Most Wanted section. Snowball builds its timeline differently from Motive, doesn't try as hard to be literary, and works better for us overall -- but do we just like a scam story better? Before you spend $25 million buying a gang, have a listen to The Blotter Presents, Episode 114.
    Motive landing page: https://www.wbez.org/shows/motive/8c9f445c-4f62-46d6-a7f6-dc70a835e99b
    Snowball landing page: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/truecrime/snowball/
    "Read" Snowball at the ABC website: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-03/con-artist-love-fraud-victims-investigate-lezlie-manukian/11300436
    Ep 097 on Who The Hell Is Hamish?: https://audioboom.com/posts/7349271-097-who-the-hell-is-hamish-and-the-woman-who-wasn-t-there

  • It took me and AB Chao a little longer than most people to get around to Unbelievable, but it lived up to its name in the best ways, nailing us to our seats and making us think about elegant exposition, acting choices, and everything SVU tries to get right and misses on. It really is "that good."
    Our other Most Wanted topic, Parcast's latest podcast Sports Criminals, isn't just not for us in the way Parcast content can sometimes be; it...really is not good, unfortunately. We tried to figure out how a seemingly foolproof choice of premiere topic could have gone so tiresomely wrong. If you can figure out what "subsiding a turmoil" is, let us know after you listen to The Blotter Presents, Episode 113.
    Unbelievable: https://www.netflix.com/browse?jbv=80153467
    Pro Publica's reporting on the Unbelievable case: https://www.propublica.org/article/false-rape-accusations-an-unbelievable-story
    A Walk With A Miserable Merritt Wever https://www.vulture.com/2019/09/merritt-wever-netflix-unbelievable.html
    Sports Criminals: https://www.parcast.com/sportscriminals
    Pistorius Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_of_Oscar_Pistorius

  • Dr. Marcia Chatelain joins me for the first time to talk about a first for Showtime: the network's foray into the true-crime-series space with Murder On The Bayou. The five-part series looks at the so-called "Jeff Davis 8" -- their lives, their deaths, what connected them and what didn't -- as well as at small-town class divisions, the economies of addiction, and the pointlessness of task forces. 
    Later, we discussed Betting On Zero, the 2016 documentary about Herbalife, and financier Bill Ackman's attempt to kill the MLM off by short-selling the stock. It's hard to say what the real difference is between an illegal pyramid scheme and a legal MLM...and what the ethical difference is between exploiting "the downline" for profit, and exploiting government intervention to back up an investment gamble. Does the doc answer those questions? Listen and find out what we thought on The Blotter Presents, Episode 112. 
    Murder In The Bayou: https://www.sho.com/murder-in-the-bayou
    Betting On Zero: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80108609
    The Waves podcast on Slate: https://slate.com/podcasts/the-waves
    Support the podcast on Patreon, get extra eps and reviews!: http://patreon.com/blotterpresents