The Blotter Presents, Episode 100: Devil’s Knot And All The Queen’s Horses

Plus: NoLa true crime and Operation Varsity Blues

For the podcast’s 100th episode (!!), Sarah is joined by author and podcaster Toby Ball. Their first topic is Devil’s Knot, Aton Egoyan’s 2013 fictionalized run at the West Memphis Three case. The film stars Reese Witherspoon at her most “woman-of-the-people”-y (watch the trailer above to see what I mean) and a cornpone-accented Colin Firth in what I can only assume is an impression of Nathan Fillion? (Again, see above before you dismiss me out of hand.)

The film’s an adaptation of Mara Leveritt’s book on the case, West Of Memphis. [“I kept calling her ‘Maya’ on the podcast; sorry, Ms. Leveritt!” - SDB] I found the Egoyan take broadly painted and corny, and Sarah says that the movie was defeated by its subject matter’s sprawling nature. If you’re still intrigued, you can rent it on Amazon for three bucks here. -- EB

Sarah and Toby also discussed All The Queen’s Horses, which is a less-familiar case. The documentary, which you can watch on Netflix, details the case of Rita Crundwell, the Dixon, Illinois controller/treasurer who admitted in 2012 that during her career in local politics, she’d embezzled $53.7 million to support her (quite successful!) horse breeding business. She’s now serving a 20-year prison sentence, most recently as a resident of Pekin Federal Correctional Institution (unrelated fact: Pekin is a bastardization of the word “Peking,” and you’ll be aghast at what the local high school’s mascot was until 1981). -- EB

Patreon supporters of the podcast will also be privy to a Blotter Brief episode on the death of Jeannette DePalma. In the extra ep, Sarah and Toby will cover a couple cases from their hometowns that they believe would make for a great true crime adaptation. While Sarah yearns for an adaptation of the -- possibly occult-related -- slaying of the NJ teen, Toby is hopeful someone will pick up this case from 1983 in which a New Hampshire couple found the remains of five infants in a steamer trunk. Neither of the cases has been solved. -- EB

You can listen to and/or subscribe to The Blotter Presents here.

New Orleans police might return to true-crime TV. The NOPD canceled its contract with A&E shows Nightwatch and The First 48 in 2016 after producers from the latter allegedly lied in court about the existence of footage relevant to a murder investigation. But last week, ITV America met with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson to discuss an upcoming true crime series set in the city. The show is “in the very early stages and nothing has been determined at this point.” a spokesperson for ITV said. -- EB

Gangster Capitalism’s first season is covering the college admissions scandal, a.k.a. Operation Varsity Blues. The podcast, which is intended to unpack white-collar crimes, is currently on its fifth episode, and has gotten raves from critics as diverse as Rolling Stone and The Financial Times. -- EB

True crime fans in the UK can now access a dedicated channel via Amazon Prime Video. The service is called Crime+Investigation Play, and is an offering of A&E UK. For $3.14 per month, viewers will have access to shows like Robbie Coltrane’s Critical Evidence, a series in which the man most of us think of as Hagrid “reveals the astonishing twists and turns of often stranger-than-fiction case.” If you’re in the UK and want to check out the channel, there’s a free 7-day trial that you can access via the Amazon video app. -- EB

Thursday on Best Evidence: The Mickey Mouse Club’s criminal element, murderous musicians, and “Death Becomes Us.”

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