Blotter | Thursday, March 16
Blotter is your twice-weekly rundown on all things true crime happening in the world of movies, TV, podcasts, and beyond.
We didn’t plan it this way, but it turns out that the middle of the week, in the middle of kind of a meh month (sorry, March) is a great time to kick off a true crime feature. A lot of you are reading and sharing—even without an accompanying TinyLetter or interrupting ads for Squarespace and Casper Mattresses—and we thank you, so we’ll get right to it:
- Let’s kick this one off with Serial, the podcast so popular they’re turning it into… three… podcasts? Apparently. Of particular note to true crime fans, one of these will be an Alabama murder mystery called S-Town, which you can start listening to on March 28. If you’re industrious, you can even finish that day, too—all episodes will be released simultaneously. Until then, enjoy this three-minute teaser.
- The documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest premiered at Sundance this week, but you’ll likely get your first chance to see it once it airs on HBO beginning May 15. It’s a riveting story about a disturbing mother-daughter relationship and the toll Munchausen by proxy disorder took on one young woman. Or, as BuzzFeed summed it up in the headline of reporter Michelle Dean’s superb piece earlier this year: “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered.” The doc is directed by Erin Lee Carr, whose previous work was the provocative 2015 documentary, Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop.
- A buzzed-about doc you can watch right now is the new-to-the-U.S. Netflix series Shadow of Truth. An Israeli production, it tells the story of the 2006 murder of a 13-year old girl in her school’s bathroom, and delves into the investigation behind this gruesome unsolved crime.
- The new network comedy Trial & Error has earned mixed reviews so far—you can read a positive one from The Onion A.V. Club here—but its source material continues to fascinate. The John Lithgow sitcom is based on the docu-series The Staircase (which itself is based on the infamous 2001 death of Kathleen Peterson). While Kathleen’s husband, Michael, was ultimately convicted of manslaughter in her death, other theories abound—some highly controversial, like the one detailed in the very first episode of the fantastic Criminal podcast.
- Finally, you might be familiar with Canada’s Highway of Tears—a stretch of Highway 16 in British Columbia infamous for the number of indigenous women who have been murdered or gone missing along its path—but you might not know it’s part of a much larger problem. Follow the Oil Trail and You’ll Find the Girls is filmmaker Riayn Fergins’ recent piece detailing the years she’s spent documenting the MMIW (Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women) crisis in Canada.
Thanks for reading and sharing. If you’ve come across some great online true crime journalism, a worthwhile podcast, documentary, or TV show you think others would like to hear about, you can let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you back here Tuesday.
Featured Image: Netflix