OJ 25 · Murder Squad · Nancy Grace

Plus: How we're ruining longreads

Court TV’s first original true-crime series drops next week. It’s called OJ25, because even my comforting escape of true crime is in cahoots to remind me that I am very very old and the OJ case began on January 24, 1995, which is before many of my day-job colleagues were even born.

Oh god where was I? So, the show will use Court TV’s archive of stuff, which includes all of the trial, as well as new interviews from trial participants, including Simpson’s defense team (trigger warning: that includes problematic person Alan Dershowitz), members of Ron Goldman’s family, and cops like the infamous Mark Fuhrman. Simpson, it appears, is not a participant.

The show’s 37 episodes (not a typo, check the press release) kick off next Thursday at 9 PM ET. In addition to the show, every Thursday weekly chronological installments of the trial will appear on CourtTV.com. — EB

Sarah and I spend a lot of time every week to ensure that we’re bringing you all the true crime that’s worth your time (and what should be avoided at all costs). For only $5 a month (or $55 per year) you’ll get six issues of Best Evidence a week, including exclusive content, reviews, guides, and discussions. If you already have a paid subscription, you’re an A+ gold star pal in our book. If you don’t, maybe today’s the day to upgrade!

The Murder Squad says they’ve solved their first crime. The podcast from Billy Jensen (who helped finish I’ll Be Gone In The Dark) and Paul Holes (The DNA Of Murder, which The Blotter Presents discussed here) claims that a listener who uploaded her DNA into the GEDmatch database at their urging aided in the arrest of James Curtis Clanton. According to The Washington Post, Clanton is the prime suspect in the nearly 40-year-old slaying of Helene Pruszynski, a 21-year-old student and aspiring journalist.

Rolling Stone reports that “Jessi,” a listener of their podcast, was told by police that “her DNA matched a suspect in a 1980 crime, at about a third-cousin level.” After some questions about her family and some additional DNA from her parents, Clanton was facing charges. Jessi, who says that she did not know Clanton, told Jensen and Holes that “after everything happened with the Golden State Killer, I was 100% thinking about how I could play a role in that.” You can listen to the full interview with Jessi here. — EB

Fox Nation, the streaming service for Fox News, is making a move into true crime. The service was originally intended as a platform to offer even more commentary from the network’s popular conservative pundits like Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy, and Laura Ingraham, the LA Times reported at the time of its launch. Now Bloomberg reports that it’s expanding into hunting, fishing, country music, and true-crime content, a lineup about which it is hard not to sound like an asshole coastal elite.

According to John Finley, the Fox exec who oversees the streaming platform, the additional offerings will demonstrate “the same sort of Fox values appealing to Middle America,” which as a person from Middle America I kind of resent. Specifics on its true-crime programming are scarce, but a new show from noted bleeding-heart pinko Nancy Grace is apparently slated to launch sometime this month. — EB

Ronan Farrow’s doing a doc for HBO on crimes against journalists. According to Deadline, “Farrow and team will investigate threats, intimidation and violence directed at journalists working to expose corruption and abuse by governments, corporations and other powerful interests.”

“Around the world, journalists are under fire,” Farrow said during the film’s announcement this week. “They’re being spied on using new surveillance technology, imprisoned, even murdered. And we’re seeing evolving tactics deployed against reporters in the United States, too, against the backdrop of a new era of misinformation campaigns and rhetoric that seeks to undermine the very idea of objective reporting.” These are obviously a lot of the themes he also covers in his book Catch And Kill (and in the book excerpts published by the New Yorker). Production has yet to start on the documentary, but we’ll definitely keep you posted. — EB

A longread roundup, but first, how we’re ruining longreads. Writing for The Baffler, James Pogue argues that the drive to adapt longform pieces of journalism (which, frequently, fall under the broad heading of true crime) for TV, movies, etc “is quietly transforming how Americans read and tell stories—and not for the better.” The problem, Pogue says, is that in pursuit of big Hollywood bucks, writers are now “shading content a bit toward the needs of a production company.” A lot of the piece discusses Epic, a vertical that’s owned by Vox Media, a company I also work for as a senior editor at Eater SF. So I’m going to allow that concern to let me leave things at that — but if you have time, Pogue’s piece is worth a read.

Okay so what ink-stained scribe is next to get paid? Perhaps one of these folks, all of whom have written excellent and engaging longform true crime pieces in recent weeks. You’re going to like this stuff.

  • How Dubious Science Helped Put A New Jersey Woman In Prison For Killing A Baby In Her Care [The Appeal]

  • She Was a Star of New York Real Estate, but Her Life Story Was a Lie [New York Times]

  • The Suspect Next Door [SF Chronicle]

Tuesday on Best Evidence: We’re off on Monday for MLK Day, but we’ll have something great for you on Tuesday, I am sure of it!

What is this thing? This should help.

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