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Best Blotter Presents podcasts we could find (updated April 2020)
Best Blotter Presents podcasts we could find
Updated April 2020
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Mike Dunn returns -- from a safe distance -- to talk about HBO's college-hoops bribery-scandal doc The Scheme. Did we like it so much because we really miss sports, or is Christian Dawkins just that charismatic? Actually, it's probably both, and between this and Disgraced, director Pat Kondelis has really found his lane. Later, we manage to avoid g…
 
[Mgmt. apologizes for various sound issues, incl. 1) construction noise next door; 2) dog being a yappy heller; and 3) Skype throttling Kevin's sound.] Kevin Smokler is back to discuss Liz Garbus's feature on one fragment of the Long Island Serial Killer case -- Lost Girls, based on Robert Kolker's excellent book. We like everyone involved, but are…
 
Can FX repeat its American Crime Story success in the unscripted space? The Most Dangerous Animal Of All takes a big swing, but Gary Stewart may get stuck on the bench with me, my guest Eve Batey, and everyone else whose dads aren't the Zodiac. Would this have made a good feature just on the criminal drama that was Stewart's birth parents? What is …
 
I'm so grateful Dr. Marcia Chatelain made time for even more discussion of fast-food malfeasance; she's my guest again as we take a look at the back half of Monopoly-scam docuseries McMillion$. The character-based future seasons we wanted, "poor man's Sante Kimes" used as a verb, the ways in which McMillion$ is the most American of stories, and muc…
 
Jessica Liese joins me to talk about a limited series Netflix picked up from Reelz, Unabomber: In His Own Words, which exceeded our expectations -- and while we'd recommend it as a good case overview with unparalleled access, we both wondered if it wasn't trying to hard to explain (or even rationalize) Ted Kaczynski's motivations for killing three …
 
The new four-parter about a grieving father's crusade against Purdue Pharma, The Pharmacist, has a couple of problems -- but, guest Jeb Lund and I agree, the chief issue is that we wanted more: more on the pill-mill ecosystem, more on the race and class issues that permeate awareness of the opioid crisis, and more from this production team. Even wh…
 
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…
 
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 serie…
 
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 re…
 
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 m…
 
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 a…
 
All the true-crime properties that were worth MY time last year, from The Act to Zeman. "Special" "appearance" by Bear E. Williams! SHOW NOTES 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 Go…
 
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…
 
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 dif…
 
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 oldes…
 
[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, call…
 
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 …
 
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…
 
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 H…
 
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 NOTES Bad Batch: https://wondery.com/shows/bad-batch/ Tell Me Who I Am: https…
 
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 wat…
 
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 bef…
 
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 r…
 
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 podcas…
 
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…
 
Netflix's recent documentary series, Happy Jail, looks at daily life and administration inside the Filipino detention center whose famous Dancing Inmates re-enacted the Thriller video so virally a decade or so ago. There are so many stories to choose from here, but Eve Batey and I agree that the production doesn't do well at organizing them, interr…
 
(Not the Chris Christie thing; the card game.) John Ramos returns to dig into a podcast from Andrew Jenks on the college-admissions bribery kerfuffle, Gangster Capitalism. Is documentarian Jenks learning the audio-narrative format on the job? Do episodes improve as you go along? And does that Loughlin stan have her priorities in order? Later, I get…
 
Mindhunter returned for a second season on Netflix last week, and I talked with Will Leitch about the gifts director David Fincher brings to this kind of narrative, who's the real heart of the FBI BSU story, Fringe reunions, and whether the Li'l Tench, Creep In Waiting storyline worked for us. This section does contain spoilers for the second seaso…
 
(Content warning for suicide and addiction issues.) Alex Segura somehow made time amongst his new babies -- a human AND a just-published last book in his Pete Fernandez series -- to talk about Leah Carroll's 2017 Down City, her memoir of her childhood after her mother's murder when Carroll was just four years old. The subject matter, which also inc…
 
Why is law enforcement so interested in bringing cases against a hip-hop star when he's alive...and not as interested in solving the case when he's dead? Eve Batey is back to talk about Amazon's Free Meek, which takes on the story of Meek Mill, punitive probation, an activist judge with opinions on remixes, and how "police contact" and the art of r…
 
Sundance continues staking out space in the prestige-true-crime space with No One Saw A Thing, a six-parter on the killing of Ken Rex McElroy in Skidmore, MO in 1981 and what that's meant to the town since then...but although it's well made, Allison and I agreed that both-sides-ism and a certain cynical willingness to let correlation be causation u…
 
Toby Ball and I liked Uncovered: The McMartin Family Trials well enough, but we still wished Oxygen were less whodunnit and more whydunnit in its coverage of this most famous of Satanic-panic cases -- how it got so big and lasted so long. We'll never know what really happened...so why not spend more time on why THIS was allowed to happen? The secon…
 
...Why is Nancy Grace so successful? What is the point of her new Oxygen joint, Injustice With Nancy Grace, a show that complains about the very rushes to judgment in which she usually specializes? Does she make these grand banal pronunciamentos about pure evil at home, like after she walks through a spiderweb or something? Lani Diane Rich is back …
 
Erin Lee Carr has had a busy year, but I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter proves she's not too busy for nuance. The two-part documentary film, airing this week on HBO, looks at both sides of Conrad Roy III's tragic death, acknowledges the human instinct to find someone to blame, and takes us back to our own gusty teenage girl…
 
Showtime's 16 Shots looks at the murder of Laquan McDonald in 2014, and why this police-involved shooting galvanized Chicago. Kevin and I talk about the excellent access filmmaker Richard Rowley gets on both sides of the issue; give suggestions for police procedural manuals; and wonder when the "a few bad apples" line of rationalizing will stop get…
 
I'm so glad I could finally welcome Omar G to the TBP guest chair...and that it was to talk about David Lowery's The Old Man And The Gun, a charming joint about a senior bank robber and escape artist, Forrest Tucker, that flew totally under our radar last year. It shouldn't fly under yours, though; it's fun, smart about managing story, and elegantl…
 
Did we close the door on the centenary episode with a bang, or a whimper? ...Whimper, I'm afraid. Toby Ball kindly made room in a packed day to join me for two Cold Case properties, the first a feature film about the Paradise Lost case, Devil's Knot, that doesn't know who it's for, what it wants to say, or how to fit a Shoah-size story into a featu…
 
Ava DuVernay's four-part masterpiece, When They See Us, hit Netflix last weekend, introducing us to the boys and men who survived getting railroaded for the 1989 "Central Park jogger" attacks; to the outsize acting talents of Jharrel Jerome, Asante Blackk, and many others; and to what it's like to cry when you see Coney Island. Piper and I discusse…
 
Recording on Memorial Day, I went guestless to talk about two takes on the contested death of Rebecca Zahau: ID's Murder Mystery version, and a limited series from Oxygen called Death At The Mansion featuring Loni Coombs, Paul Holes, and Billy Jensen. Is either one worth your time? Does the nature of the case mean no TV show about it can maintain a…
 
It’s taking all my strength to resist making a “throw another con on the barbie” joke, so why fight it: today Eve and I are talking about tragedy vampires on today’s episode, starting with the latest limited series from The Australian: Who The Hell Is Hamish?. How did Hamish Watson con so many people? Where did all that money go? And what makes Gre…
 
Did Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile live up to the hype? ...Not quite. Jeb rejoined me to discuss Berlinger's scripted take on Ted Bundy, or more accurately Bundy's corrosive effect on one of his living victims, his longtime girlfriend Liz Kendall. Did the film do what it set out to, or was the dark gravitational pull of the killer hims…
 
Stephanie Early Green was here to talk about Believed in Episode 077, and somehow made it through Erin Lee Carr's excellent but harrowing At The Heart Of Gold also...though we both wept at various points. The film comes to HBO May 3, but you can listen to our discussion about the importance of testimony, the miasma of guilt and responsibility aroun…
 
The name is a little glib, but A&E's Kids Behind Bars: Life Or Parole looks at the Supreme Court decision that forced the resentencing of juveniles given life without parole as teenagers, and Piper is back to look at the eight-episode series: the incarcerated "former kids" it chooses to focus on, the way each story is built, the perspectives of law…
 
Director and Columbine High School graduate Laura Farber made a very personal look at living with the 1999 massacre, featuring a handful of her classmates, and Toby is back to talk about the emotional terrain it covers, how it chose its subjects, and the ways survivors live with trauma. In the Cold Case section, my attempt to impose a Colorado them…
 
Netflix's eight-part review of the Madeleine McCann case, The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann, is journalistically rigorous -- but is it rigorous to a fault? Eve returns to look at the series, its organizing principles, its indictment of tabloid media's role in the case, and how we think the case would "play" if Madeleine disappeared today. The b…
 
You may not remember much about the Alex Rodriguez/Biogenesis flap from a few years back; you may not care about it now. But Billy Corben's weird, withering Screwball is the best kind of documentary: the kind that works even for people who don't think they care about the topic. Mike Dunn returns to the podcast to discuss the bizarre, yet perfect, r…
 
Is Hulu trying to make its own American Crime Story with anthology true-crime series The Act? Maybe; Tara Ariano and I agree they're off to a good start with the eight-part Gypsy Blanchard limited series co-created by Michelle Dean. Good production design, good performances, and a good sense of the claustrophobia in Gypsy and DeeDee's relationship …
 
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