Sydney Homophobia · Zoom With David Grann

Also: Do we need an Epstein docuseries?

Do you have the stomach for a Jeffrey Epstein docuseries? Netflix is betting you do; hence Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, its new docuseries on the convicted sex offender and disgraced financier.

The show’s a collaboration of Lisa Bryant, Joe Berlinger (The Ted Bundy Tapes, which Sarah discussed on The Blotter Presents here), and James Patterson (the Alex Cross novels, among other mass-market paperbacks), and per Netflix’s media materials, it’ll feature “frightening firsthand accounts” from Epstein’s victims.

The four-episode series drops on May 27, a bummer for anyone who hoped to spend the long Memorial weekend with what’s arguably one of the yuckiest cases in recent memory. But seriously, what can this show provide that the countless podcasts, longform reports, and newsmagazine episodes didn’t? Is there a case in 2020 that’s been examined as closely as Epstein’s? I just don’t see what this series brings to the table besides more of the same, and I’m wondering if fascination with the case is still healthy enough to make this worth Netflix’s while. What do you think? — EB

View comments


Ohhh but Raided, that’s something I’m into. It’s been over a year since public-interest news org The Appeal kicked off Raided, a documentary on a “precision policing” raid by the NYPD that resulted in the arrests of 120 people. The Bronx 120 raid, as it was known, has since been called out as an example of due process abuses, federal overreach, and — as always — fucked-up racial politics.

The case was also the subject of a remarkable multi-media report from The Intercept, which looked specifically at how it appeared RICO laws were bent to the breaking point to prosecute the arrestees. That was the thrust of The Appeal’s initial coverage of the issue, but as a San Francisco Bay Area resident, the second part of the doc has my ears pricking up: Per a tweet from The Appeal, it “explores the roles of Silicon Valley companies” in the raid. Expect that segment in the story some time next week. — EB


Thirty-two years after Scott Johnson was shoved off a cliff in Sydney — a death that was initially classified as a suicide and was only named a hate crime three years ago — an arrest has been made in the case. Johnson, an American who lived in Australia, was found dead at the base of a cliff in 1988, but it wasn’t until a third inquest that officials said that he was slain because he was gay.

A suspect in the case was arrested on Tuesday, the Guardian reports, prompting Johnson’s brother, Steve, to record the above video thanking the investigators in the case by name. That’s interesting because the longstanding sentiment was that Johnson’s case was poorly investigated at the time due to systemic homophobia within the New South Wales police department (the NYT has some solid context for that) — but what was even weirder, for me, what to start watching the video and realize I recognized Steve. As it turns out, he’s one of the people who helped invent streaming video (scroll down on this page for his bio) and was one of California’s loudest voices in support of marriage equality, a battle I covered extensively as it wound its way through the courts. What a small world. — EB


This Zoom looks amazing…and it’s free. You can register here to join Best Evidence usual suspect David Grann, New Yorker features director Daniel Zalewski, and reporter Patrick Radden Keefe for a chat on true crime, their process, and — of course — their books. Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon is the one that Martin Scorsese is adapting (or, depending on how terrible its budget problems get, not), and Keefe’s Say Nothing will reportedly be adapted into a limited series for FX. If you log into the zoom by 6:40 PM ET on May 20, you can ask about those adaptations — or whatever else you want — and have your question answered by the writers during the hour-long event. [“I’ll be in attendance; thanks to contrib Susan Howard for the tip!” — SDB] — EB


This weekend on Best Evidence: You’ve got O, P, and Q in the ABCs of True Crime to get you through Sunday.

And you know what would get us really fired up for Monday? A paid subscription or two! If you’re riding along for free, we’re not mad — but if you have an extra $5 a month you can kick our way, we’d be ever so glad.


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 or text us any time at 919-75-CRIME.