Dahmer · Weinstein · Cops

Plus: How The Wire inspired a real crime-fighting tool

The clocking is ticking on the inaugural Best Evidence Forcening! We’re going to start going through the comments on this thread to create a poll we’ll use to, um, force each other to consume a show, movie, or podcast that y’all pick. Everything is all-hands free-skate until the bitter end, so nominate and vote early and often — then paid subscribers will get the final product in their inboxes shortly thereafter. — EB

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Cops is back in business, baby. The show about live police action slash subject of the investigative podcast Running from Cops was canceled by the Paramount Network in June, following the social justice uprising inspired by the police slaying of George Floyd. However, its producers say that they have obligations overseas, so their crews are back on the job in Spokane County, Washington, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

A spokesperson for the Paramount Network made it clear to Fox Business that they have nothing to do with this whole COVID trap of a plan, saying, “Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.” The Spokane County Sheriff’s Department has no such compunctions, saying via press release that crews started riding with their deputies in “September and will be here through the first week of November.”

According to KHQ, Spokane County reported 216 new cases of the novel coronavirus this weekend, as well as three deaths. In the month of September, “Spokane County saw a record surge” of cases, KREM reports, which sure does make you wonder if those “international obligations” are worth dying for. — EB

Ryan Murphy’s next Netflix joint will be about Jeffrey Dahmer. Deadline has the scoop: Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story will land at the streaming giant with Carl Franklin (Mindhunter) and Janet Mock (Pose) at the helm.

The show’s will be “told from the point of view of Dahmer’s victims” and is intended to examine “police incompetence and apathy” including “at least 10 instances where Dahmer was almost apprehended but ultimately let go.” There’s currently a nationwide search to find the perfect Dahmer, with Richard Jenkins already in place as Dahmer’s dad, Lionel. A release date has yet to be announced. Your casting suggestions are, as always, welcome below. — EB

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“New Charges For Harvey” sounds like the worst kid’s book ever. It’s, however, true: According to a press release from Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Harvey Weinstein faces six sexual assault counts on top of the crimes he was charged with earlier this year.

According to Lacey (who, it should be noted, is running a tightly-contested race to retain her seat, all to be decided on November 3), two new alleged victims came forward: a woman allegedly raped by Weinstein at a Beverly Hills hotel between September 2004 and September 2005, and another woman who says Weinstein raped her during two different encounters at a Beverly Hills hotel between November 2009 and November 2010.

Weinstein’s currently serving a 23-year sentence in New York, so LA prosecutors are requesting his extradition (a hearing is planned for December 11th). If he’s convicted of all the California charges, after he’s done with his NY sentence, he’ll face a sentence of 140 years to life. Weinstein is 68, so who knows, a second stint in CA could conceivably happen? — EB

You know that joke about a restaurant where the food is shitty, but at least the portions were big? Senior The Week editor Danny Funt argues — at greeeeaaaat length — that we’ll soon be living that borscht belt routine, but regarding documentaries, especially true crime ones.

Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Funt says that “aggressive investments from Netflix and its competitors” are spurring a boom in docuseries, but a lot of them might not fulfill the rigorous standards one might hope for in a piece of content in that prestige-laden genre. Here’s a snip:

Yet this golden age of documentaries is defined, in part, by the blurring of what it even means to be a documentary. Desperate for access to celebrities who prefer to promote themselves on social media rather than go through news media, filmmakers are increasingly willing to surrender their editorial independence. It is common to give subjects incentives that would be scandalous in any other news medium: paying for access, clearing quotes and clips, giving a subject’s business partners a producing credit. [“I have a review of HBO’s Craig Carton doc coming this week and let’s just say this is not irrelevant.” — SDB] Although journalistically rigorous documentaries are also flourishing—like 13th, Ava DuVernay’s study of mass incarceration, or The Cave, about hospital workers in the Syrian civil war—Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple, HBO, Showtime, and their peers are allowing big-budget documentaries to skirt the guardrails of truth-telling.

Many of the twenty-plus industry leaders I interviewed for this story told me that conflicts of interest are now part of the cost of doing business. Journalism schools, meanwhile, continue to teach documentary filmmaking, and the form’s traditionalists worry that streaming giants are prioritizing good television at the expense of sound reporting.

Intrigued? Have a chunk of time to read a deep inside journalistic baseball dive (that has a sweet Joan Didion treat at the end)? Then here you go. — EB

The tennis ball The Wire’s Herc and Carver used to (abortively) eavesdrop on Frog has a real life counterpart. By which I do not mean that an expensive mic was, in real life, crushed by a truck — according to Wired, researchers are now creating fake turtle eggs with embedded trackers, as a way to ensnare poachers of the gentle beasts.

The Wired report is based on this paper from the researchers who created the GPS-enabled eggs. “Our shortest track emitted its final signal 28 m from a residential property, while another travelled 2 km to a bar,” the researchers write. A third helped them map out a poaching operation end-to-end. It’s kind of an amazing story, and I urge you to read both the magazine report and the scholarly doc to get the full picture. — EB

Wednesday on Best Evidence: Seagram’s and NXIVM, a cocktail no one wants!

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