Jim Bakker · Last Meals · Kelly Ripa

Why even bother to try to top that subject line?

Is The Eyes of Tammy Faye a true-crime property? While the 20-year-old documentary — which, holy smokes, was from the folks who would later bring us arguable true crime reality show RuPaul’s Drag Raceis about the televangelist’s efforts to rebuild herself after a scandal, the scandal in question involved claims of fraud and a federal investigation into allegations of payments for sexual favors — all claims made against her husband, Jim Bakker.

A couple decades later, Tammy Faye Messner is no longer with us, but her ex-husband, Jim Bakker, remains in the spotlight — this time, NPR reports, for allegedly attempting to sell a fake cure for COVID-19. This week, the state of Missouri formally filed suit against Bakker regarding his promotion for so-called Silver Solution, which his guest on The Jim Bakker Show said “hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours” and "has been proven by the government that it has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV.”

Officials in New York and with the FDA are also going after Bakker, with the latter saying that the televangelist’s site and Facebook page were selling “unapproved new drugs.” As of Wednesday, the products had disappeared from Bakker’s site. — EB


Oxygen announced a slew of new shows this week, including one from couple/production team Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. Deadline reports that the Ripa/Consuelos joint is called Exhumed, a show in which each episode follows a murder case in which a victim’s body is unearthed. “We cannot wait to dig into [‘oh, COME ON’ - SDB] these fascinating cases and showcase how exhumations have been crucial in solving crimes and bringing closure to families across America,” a statement from Ripa and Consuelos said, because this week just hasn’t been weird enough, has it.

Also on Oxygen’s agenda: a special called The Jane Doe Murders (“murder cases of bodies without names and loved ones never returned to their families”) and The Case Died with Her, which will cover the death of Emilie Morris, who mysteriously died after her cross-country coach admitted to “statutory sodomy.” (There’s a BuzzFeed report of the same name on the case, and the show is “drawn from” that, Deadline reports.) Finally, Injustice with Nancy Grace will get a second season, if you’re into that. — EB


The LA Times’ TV critic says that The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is “sensationalist.” Robert Lloyd’s issue doesn’t seem to be with the show itself, which he says is “A well-made and conscientious work.” It’s the reason why folks watch it that appears to trouble him, as he writes that “Something besides a desire to educate Netflix subscribers about the state of social services amid the poor populations of Los Angeles County, and the desire of Netflix subscribers to know these things, has brought Gabriel Fernandez to the top of the charts,” then goes after Netflix’s broader slate of true crime offerings, saying that “the aim of these series, from a formal standpoint, is to give the factual the electric charge of the fictional.”

It gets gloomier from there, with finger-pointing like “every button pushed or link clicked to prompt the next thing we’ll be shown, is a signal to make more” and “what interests the public isn’t necessarily in the public interest.” You can read Lloyd’s full take on Fernandez, the genre, and everyone who consumes true crime (hi!) here. — EB

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Sarah is talking about Lost Girls on The Blotter Presents next week, but early reviews of the film are…not glowing. The Netflix adaptation of the true crime book of the same name is not exploitative, says Guardian critic Benjamin Lee, but it’s “sensitively made yet frustratingly plodding.” The “sincere” film is “never as involving or as effective as the story at its centre,” Lee writes. Critics, am I right? Make it too entertaining and you get the Lloyd treatment above, but when it’s not entertaining enough, folks like Lee will call it “sorely lacking.” See for yourself today — it drops on Netflix on Friday, March 13. — EB


Here are a last couple of tidbits as you go into the weekend…

  • “Last Meals on Death Row, a Peculiarly American Fascination.” Writing for the New York Times, food critic Jay Rayner looks into “the real last meals of the condemned.”

  • “Royal Scandals Through The Centuries.” Megxit is hardly a crime (some might argue that it’s quite the opposite), but that doesn’t make the release date of this Crime Reads piece on “brawls, disappearances, executions, affairs and more affairs” among the castle class any less auspicious.

  • “The Friendly Mr. Wu.” If you’re not feeling paranoid enough already, here’s a fun piece from The Economist on how “The weakest link in America’s national security may not be foreign technology but its own people,” like “the single mother who sold out to China.” Sleep well, folks!


If you give a mouse a cookie he might ask you to subscribe. Sarah and I were super psyched to see that some of you ponied up for a paid subscription after my entreaty on Thursday! Well, those folks encouraged me to keep on asking, so here’s a reminder that if we get to 2000 paid subscriptions by this summer, I will cover the Theranos trial in person — and with 3000, Sarah will make her way to the Bay Area to report on it with me. Help us make this happen today!

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Monday on Best Evidence: Who knows! It’s been a wild week, something’s sure to surface.


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