Author: Samantha Sanders

BLOTTER | Liquid Matthew

On a Sunday night in December 1983 in Miami’s Hialeah neighborhood, a pair of joggers found the body of Francisco Patino Gutierrez, who’d been murdered and dumped in a parking lot. It was the start of what became known as the “Liquid Matthew” case. A nasty rainstorm was passing over Miami that night making the search for clues difficult. It wasn’t until the next day that police returned to the scene and tried to piece together what had happened to Gutierrez. A few things were known at this point: the victim was a Colombian national, he’d been a seaman,...

Read More

BLOTTER | Fall TV Preview

Hi again. It’s time to ease into our final fall preview of all things true crime. If you missed the updates on podcasts or film, there’s still time to catch up. But today we’ll be looking at what’s ahead for fall. I’ve got cable recommendations (do you still watch? I’m trying to cut the cord), network, and for variety’s sake, a few from streaming services, as well (more of those in the film preview, too). First up is a great roundup by Esquire that includes some upcoming shows of interest to true crime and scripted dramas, including  10 Days...

Read More

The Confession Tapes Takes You Behind the Curtain

Overview: A seven-part documentary series examines cases involving alleged coerced confessions from all sides of the justice system. Netflix; 2017; Not Rated; varying runtimes. Behind Closed Doors: For many years, the police interrogation room was off limits to the public. You were unlikely to ever see footage of the process of questioning a suspect unless you were on a jury or in that precarious situation yourself. But something changed in recent years. Scratch that; many things changed. For one, a viewing audience has demanded greater authenticity in its entertainment. I’m sure I’m not alone in watching an old Law &...

Read More

BLOTTER | Fall Film Preview

If your film tastes tend toward the grim, the murky, or the unsettling, then right about now is the time you get the itch to start double checking release dates. For those of us who fall into that camp, the arrival of fall means the movie offerings get better—and often darker. True crime fans will still find the most to watch on the small screen, but you won’t be sacrificing quality. Longform true crime will continue to be dominated by Netflix, which seems to have separated itself from the pack by producing a string of thoughtful and unhurried documentaries...

Read More

BLOTTER | Fall Podcast Preview

Hello again! I’ve been away for a bit and was so excited to pop into my Google News Alerts and see that our long, national nightmare of podcast drought seems to be ending. Suddenly, they’re everywhere again and I’m excited for what this new crop promises. Today, we’re going to take a dive into some of the newest potential obsessions and commute comfort foods of the audio world: For fans of cold cases, check out the brand-new monthly podcast Gone Cold, which will take an in-depth look at a new crime each broadcast and focusing, for now at least,...

Read More

BLOTTER | Sharks, Murder Hostels, and Natalee Holloway

Hi guys. Want to know a secret? I’m on vacation. I hope a lot of you are too, or at the very least, eking out as much of what remains of summer as possible. The point is that I needed to find you a few links in advance. And since there are now anywhere between 4 and 17 news cycles between when we wake up and when we sleep, there’s just no way to keep things timely. But I can keep them reasonably topical for a holiday weekend. Here are a few stories of crimes that happened on vacation:...

Read More

“This is the Zodiac Speaking”: Fincher’s Film Ten Years On

Originally published on March 2, 2017. The story of what came to be known as the Zodiac murders began on December 20, 1968, though no one knew at the time how significant that particular shooting was to become. There’s no agreed upon date when the murders ended because the Zodiac—a moniker the killer gave himself—has never been identified. His shadow stretches until it just reaches into 1970, though attacks beyond 1969 have never been substantiated. For a period of just a bit more than a year, the Bay Area was paralyzed by the randomness and viciousness of these crimes....

Read More

BLOTTER | AUGUST 29

For today’s Blotter, we’re going to move away from our usual media—films, books, television, podcasts—to take a look at the shadowy corners where the worlds of crime and art intersect. First let’s get in the mood. Throw some jazz on and pour yourself a [Googles old time drinks] …Rob Roy (?) and let’s begin by taking a look at the visual arts. The Guardian compiled a short but compelling list of ten crime scenes depicted in art. Not all are pictured, but all are worth an image search and a few moments of contemplation—and maybe a trip down a...

Read More

BLOTTER | Fall TV, Vigilantes, and S-Town Updates

Hello! It’s Thursday link time again. It’s a quiet time of year, media-wise. The big, loud movies have all come out, the Oscar-bait hasn’t yet released. TV is just willowy women in glasses nodding at blandly handsome men using those giant touch-controlled computer screens on CBS crime shows (why do all they all have those screens?), while better shows wait in the wings. It’s a real sit-and-wait time. So mainly I have forward-looking links for you, but a few cover old favorites (did John B. really have mercury poisoning?). Either way you’re looking these last weeks of summer, I...

Read More

How Sad, How Lovely: The Disappearance of Connie Converse

The Greenwich Village of the 1950s was 185 acres packed dense with the beats, bohemians and artists whose names are now legendary—Cage, Pollock, Motherwell, Kerouac—laying the groundwork for a folk scene that would explode in the coming decade, largely thanks to a young Bob Dylan. But Dylan wasn’t among the first singer-songwriters to flock to the Village. A young woman, fiercely introverted and uniquely talented, named Connie Converse preceded him by more than five years. Connie had been born in New Hampshire in 1924, a time that now may seem improbably far away, though plenty of her contemporaries are...

Read More

BLOTTER | AUGUST 17 Fraud, Charade, and Whataburger

Hello! It’s a film-heavy week of links below, leaning hard on the classics, as I’d argue we often should. Plus, I’ve got some lovely longer pieces for you to open in a tab on your phone and maybe discover two weeks from now excited you forgot to read it. Or at least that’s how I most often read things. I’ve had some trouble lately digging up quality podcasts to share with you. If you have a recent fave that’s (even tangentially) crime-related, fictional or not, we’d love to hear about it. Tell us at @WeTalkMovies so we can spread...

Read More

BLOTTER | Suggestions for More Diverse Crime Series

The world of crime fiction, despite some notable inroads made by women the past few decades, is still dominated by white men—many of whom are quite capable of writing complex characters and weaving nuanced storylines all while compelling you to keep turning pages. If you want to find a good work of crime fiction by a white male author, you can. But it’s good for the industry—and even more so for the readers—when we broaden the scope. For today’s Blotter, I want to offer up a few suggestions for series, or individual works from a more diverse group of...

Read More

BLOTTER | AUGUST 10: Outlaws, X-Files, and Murder

One of the most pleasant things about New York in the summer, great smells aside, are the rooftop movies that seem to be showing nearly every summer night. My pal and I have been trying to coordinate a meet-up to catch one for months, but with only a few weeks left to the season, we each had to compromise a little and just commit. On Friday, we’ll be catching a showing of Dirty Dancing, which I don’t think I’ve seen since I was about 11. I guess they won’t pause on Swayze’s butt like we did in junior high,...

Read More

All the Queen’s Horses: A Huge Crime You Never Heard About

Overview: A city comptroller in small town Illinois perpetrated the largest case of municipal fraud—some $53 million; Kartemquin Films; 2017; NR; 71 minutes. Small Town: Dixon, Illinois (pop. 15,135) is quintessential small-town America. The town sits a bit more than an hour and a half west of Chicago and used to be most well-known as the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan (know those pictures of a young Reagan lifeguarding? That’s Dixon). At least until 2011, when a city employee noticed a strange discrepancy in some bank paperwork and stumbled headlong onto a co-worker’s $53 million secret. For more than 20...

Read More

BLOTTER | 7 Weird Wikis to Get Through Tuesday

There’s an appealing same-ness to the quality of content you can find on Wikipedia. It’s the McDonald’s-bathroom-on-a-road-trip of websites. Never flashy, sometimes of suspect quality, but reliable enough. And, similarly, relaxing there for a minute or two, isn’t going to bother anyone. Is this too much information? If you’re a fan of true crime, urban legends, or just possibly specious ephemera, Wikipedia offers plenty of diversion and the kind of casual browsing that won’t attract attention pulled up on your desktop at work. So let’s get through Tuesday by taking a look at some of Wikipedia’s most intriguing crime-related...

Read More