Epstein's Chef · Sketchy Banks · Seriously, Oxygen?

Plus: A bunch of books to reserve or just order

Hello! I have returned from my bathroom floor (or, more accurately, the hall outside my bathroom, which is not big enough to comfortably lie down on)! Sarah is right, our budget document is bonkeroo, so I’m going to continue her tradition with a couple of roundups today. Lots of good stuff for your ears and eyes! — EB


But first, what’s with this series title, Oxygen? The Real Murders of Orange County is a Doctor Pimple Popper episode title (just trade “lipomas” for “murders”) level of cheese, a past-its-sell-by date reference to a show that — hold on to your butts — wasn’t new and wow since 2006.

And yet, it is a show that Oxygen announced in the year of our lord 2020 — a series about “the most horrific, sinful and salacious cases that rocked Southern California’s wealthy coastal community,” it said via press release. The trailer is here, and the show kicks off on November 8, which means that you can just let it pile up and binge it over Thanksgiving. That seems like the proper time to sit back and watch “when privilege leads to problems and greed leads to murder,” one supposes. — EB


As I’ve mentioned, my day job is at food and restaurant website Eater. So, the news that Adam Perry Lang, a celebrity restauranteur and the former personal chef for Jeffrey Epstein, is in talks with the feds about Epstein’s many crimes was big to me from both sides.

Buzzfeed reports that Lang would help sneak Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre food, but doesn’t implicate him in any of the disgraced financier’s crimes — but Lang’s role in the saga was brought to the forefront by the most recent episode of Broken: Jeffrey Epstein, in which podcast host Tara Palmeri and Giuffre attempt to track Lang down to hold “the various perpetrators that participated, enabled or looked the other way accountable,” Giuffre says in a note she wrote to the chef.

Eater LA runs down the efforts the pair make to track Lang down (they were not successful), and scored a statement with Lang’s team, which says rather pointedly that “We have absolutely always been available to the attorneys for the lawyers representing the victims — indeed, we reached out and spoke to one of them many months ago but although we invited a meeting with Adam in no uncertain terms, those attorneys have literally never gotten back to us (although we did hear from other counsel this week).” — EB


New podcasts! New podcasts! Here’s what to listen to, or to look forward to. — EB

  • Suspicious Activity: Inside the FinCEN Files: This new podcast from Buzzfeed is a five-part look at “how the most powerful banks in the world facilitate the worst of humanity.” It’s the in-your-ears version of a massive investigation by Buzzfeed, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and hundreds of other news organizations, into leaked government docs that — as Axios puts is — “reveal how some of the world's biggest banks knowingly moved around the money of oligarchs, terrorists and criminals, with few consequences.” There’s a boatload of background reading (most of it published this past Sunday) on the case; you can find it here. Plus, the show host is Azeen Ghorayshi, who is a delightful person. Episode 1 is here.

  • Canary: The Washington Post Investigates: This seven-part investigation into “the intertwining stories of two women who came together after one of them publicly shared her story of sexual assault” launches on October 1, which is — shockingly — next week. It’s the Post’s first long-form investigative podcast, and the paper is offering an early listen to the show if you give them your email address.

  • Shots in the Back: Exhuming the 1970 Augusta Riot: Georgia Public Broadcasting launched this series about the demonstrations that followed “the suspicious death of Charles Oatman, an African American teenager held in the county jail” earlier this summer, but if you hop on it now, you can participate in a series of virtual events with host Niki Harris and some of the show’s guests, scheduled for 7 PM ET on September 28 and October 5. For more info on the events, go here.

  • One Click: We don’t have a release date for this podcast yet, but we know that it will exist because Deadline says so, noting that Elle Fanning is set to narrate the show. The podcast is based on Jessica Wapner’s Daily Beast report “The Deadly Internet Diet Drug That Cooks People Alive,” about “A chemical used in WWI-era artillery shells” that is “sold on the Internet as a diet pill and bodybuilding aid—with fatal results.” So, start with TDB’s story here, and set your alarm for “early 2021,” when the pod is expected to drop.


If you, like me, have podcasts piled up like nuts because you’re not going anywhere anymore, then you might prefer a couple book ideas. Right? I am almost out of books (thank god Sarah’s latest came out Tuesday!) so this list is as much for me as it is for you. — EB

  • The Witness: This book dropped in the UK December of 2020, but the Kindle version was just made available in the U.S. It’s a well-reviewed book on a Dublin gangster who is known as the “youngest person in the history of the state” to go into witness protection.

  • The Devil’s Harvest: The full title is The Devil's Harvest: A Ruthless Killer, a Terrorized Community, and the Search for Justice in California's Central Valley, which leaves me little to expand upon: Jose Manuel Martínez seemed like a regular, California guy, but he was actually a cartel hitman. The New York Journal of Books gave it a glowing review, calling it “a must read for any true-crime aficionado and is a story that desperately needed to be told.” It’s not available via audiobook yet, and its Kindle version was on sale for $13.99 as of this writing.

  • Who’s Watching You?: When you send me a press release that says Don Johnson has written a true crime book, you bet I click “open.” But it’s not that Don Johnson — this Johnson is a first-time author whose wife, Ellen, was attacked and assaulted, escaping by jumping from a moving vehicle. This self-published tome is his tribute to his spouse (who died of cancer in 2018), and the importance DNA testing played in her case. Based on the excerpt I read, this might not be the most ambitious narrative in this roundup, but it’s clear that this book was a labor of love.


Thursday on Best Evidence: Make it the Olympics, but with crime.


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