Homicide City · Guardians · Serial

Plus: Jim Sheridan's true crime odyssey

The director of My Left Foot has been working on a true-crime doc for the last five years. Filmmaker Jim Sheridan tells the Irish Mirror that he’s racked up 400 hours of footage for a doc on the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a French television producer who was found beaten to death just outside her home in 1996.

This past May, French authorities convicted an English journalist named Ian Bailey in the slaying, but Bailey remains free as he lives in Ireland, a country that has refused repeated extradition requests. Sheridan appears to believe that things aren’t as clear cut as all that, saying, “There wasn’t any real investigation done... apart from Ian as a suspect” and that “People have an opinion of Ian already so what we are doing is just presenting the evidence as it is and let the public make their own minds up.”

Bailey is apparently a prominent voice in the film, telling the Mirror, “I can’t really discuss the case but I have been co-operating with Jim from the start.” A finish or distribution date on the doc has yet to be announced, but it’s already secured a distribution deal with London production company Studio Soho. -- EB

If you were hoping to pick and choose between episodes of the new season of Homicide City, Charlotte’s News & Observer has an episode guide to help you out. Every season of the Investigation Discovery show focuses on crimes in a different large city, and this time, the town in question is Charlotte, North Carolina. It kicked off Tuesday with an episode on the death of Harmahn Smith, an 18-year-old who disappeared in 2005, and subsequent eps (you can see the full list here) will cover cases as old as a 1979 slaying and as recent as the 2010 death of a beloved teacher. -- EB

The Dallas Morning News has a remarkable two-part true-crime longread. It’s called “Guardians,” and it’s about a serial killer that stalked his victims in Texas retirement homes. The content is paywalled, but it’s a pay-what-you-can system, so if you’re strapped you can read it for very little. It’s worth a couple bucks, however, so you might consider skipping your next coffee shop visit and giving this a read instead. Part one is here, and part two is here. -- EB

The holidays are nearly here, which makes this a good time to trot out SNL’s brilliant take on Serial’s first season. I’ve watched this thing so many times and I still laugh! And SPEAKING OF the holidays, we’re in day three of our Twelve Days of Best Evidence promotion, in which we’re offering a year of BE for just a buck a week. If you like this newsletter enough to read it, your friends might too -- so if you’re a paid subscriber, please do consider giving this publication as a gift.

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For the rest of you -- we’re glad you’re here, and we totally understand if you can’t shell out for a paid subscription right now. (We’re counting our pennies, too!) But if you like this enough to want five issues a week, feel free to forward this newsletter to a loved one and tell them that you want a paid subscription for Christmas. Hey, it can’t hurt, right? -- EB

Friday on Best Evidence: A journalist’s error during coverage of a true crime case spurs an $11 million lawsuit

What is this thing? This should help.

Follow The Blotter @blotterpresents onTwitter and Instagram, and subscribe to The Blotter Presents via the podcast app of your choice. You can also call us any time at 919-75-CRIME.

The Blotter Presents, Episode 123: Sarah Cleans Out Her DVR

Plus: A journalist turned drug trafficker tells his side of the tale

On this week’s episode of The Blotter Presents, Sarah is flying solo. That’s probably good, because she has six different properties to plow through, all previously-televised true crime properties. Here’s the docket:

Some of these shows, which have languished on Sarah’s DVR for years, were crummy enough to compel a motion to dismiss from our host, while others were granted a continue-ance. You can listen to this week’s episode here to learn which are worth a watch. -- EB

Sarah says that The Confession Killer is a solid option to turn on while you’re, say, wrapping holiday gifts. The Netflix series about Henry Lee Lucas came up in this publication earlier this month, so I’ll spare you the recap and just give you this link (it’s the third item down). The five-part docuseries, which drops this coming Friday, arguably has a new relevance in this ear of confessional unreliability, and it definitely provides another perspective on violent attention-seeking behavior.

Based on the first episode (she didn’t view all five), Sarah says that the show offers a “meta examination of the distortions that this genre can enact on the true stories it's trying to tell,” which is also a timely conversation: See the abundant coverage (including a discussion on an upcoming episode of The Blotter Presents!) Savage Appetites has garnered.

Though its pacing is “deliberate” (which I’ve learned is Sarah-speak for “Eve you will probably start messing with your phone if you sit down to watch this one”), Sarah says it also gives viewers the “texture of turn-of-the-’80s Texas,” so she terms it a good show to have on while engaged in another task. You can listen to her full assessment here. -- EB

Oh, god, do I have to get the Facebook Watch app now? I feel like everyone in my social circle is doing what they can to reduce their reliance on Facebook, and the absolute last thing I want to do is give them even more information on my interests. (Yeah, I know the horse has left the barn on this one, but that doesn’t mean I want to kick any of my remaining horses out into the world, too!)

It appears that Dan Abrams fails to share the nation’s growing distrust of the Zuck Empire, as his website Law&Crime has reportedly made a two-show deal with the social network. According to Mediaite, the shows, both of which will run for eight episodes, will be called Vanished (unsolved cases of missing kids) and Buried With Love (the Brooke Skylar Richardson case). The former will appear on Thursdays beginning on December 26 (“Merry Christmas, kids!”), and the latter kicks off on December 15 and will run every Sunday. -- EB

We could easily talk all day about this piece from The Ringer on a former Vice editor who admits to trafficking cocaine and is now plotting a true crime podcast. Not only does it fulfill your worst suspicions about people who work at Vice (arrogant, drugs) but it’s an amazing “dumb criminal” story and a delicious longread.

Vice Canada editor Slava P. has pled guilty to his role in a coke import scheme that landed five people in Australian jail in 2015, Kate Knibbs reports. He’s currently awaiting sentencing, his journalism career essentially tanked by the scandal. But he sees a possibility for a second act while in prison (his lawyers are fighting for a six-to-eight year sentence, while prosecutors are shooting for 12), as he says he’ll likely launch a true-crime podcast in which he’ll interview his fellow inmates. “There’s a lot of interesting people in jail,” he says. You can read the story here. -- EB

Paid subscribers to Best Evidence are choosing what Sarah will read next. It’s just another benefit to being a BE subscriber, along with five issues of the newsletter a week and the ability to comment on every issue. Of course, anyone can vote in the poll to pick which of these books Sarah will review next:

…but only paid subscribers will get the review of the winning book in their inboxes. This is a great time to subscribe -- or grab a gift subscription for a pal -- as just yesterday we kicked off our 12 Days of Best Evidence promotion. For the next 11 days, an annual subscription to BE has been marked down to just a dollar a week. Grab this deal while you can, so we can keep bringing you all the true crime that’s worth your time.

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Thursday on Best Evidence: Quick, what U.S. town is nicknamed “Homicide City”?

What is this thing? This should help.

Follow The Blotter @blotterpresents on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to The Blotter Presents via the podcast app of your choice. You can also call us any time at 919-75-CRIME.

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