The Blotter Presents, Episode 101: The Old Man & The Gun

Plus: Incendiary, Norco 80, and The Body Genius

This week’s episode of The Blotter Presents -- in which we’re joined by Omar L. Gallaga -- focuses on two projects related to works by writer David Grann: The Old Man & The Gun and Incendiary: The Willingham Case.

The former film is an adaptation of Grann’s New Yorker piece of the same name, which was published back in 2003. Both tell the tale of Forrest Tucker, a bank robber who escaped from prison 18 times and committed his last crimes at age 79. Robert Redford, who played Tucker in the movie, is 82. (I’ll let you sit there with that for a minute.) How did the fictionalized adaptation compare to the written yarn? Listen here to get Omar and Sarah’s assessment. -- EB

Incendiary: The Willingham Case isn’t a direct adaptation of Grann’s 2009 New Yorker piece -- that dramatic adaptation, which stars Laura Dern briefly hit theaters in May and isn’t available for streaming at present. Instead, Sarah and Omar discussed a 2011 documentary on the same case, the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, a man executed in 2004 for what prosecutors argued was the intentional arson deaths of his three young children. Subsequent investigation has suggested that the forensic results at the fire scene were misinterpreted, and that the state of Texas might have executed an innocent man. -- EB

The AV Club has given a nod to true crime parody in its “best podcasts of 2019 so far” rankings. The Truth made the list for its mini-series “The Body Genius,” a true crime satire about a Hollywood personal trainer who seeks to solve a client’s murder. “Basically, imagine if Brad Pitt’s character from Burn After Reading took over for Sarah Koenig on Serial and really, really wanted to solve the murder himself,” they write. I’m not typically a scripted podcast person but I might make an exception for this one. -- EB

The Irish Times has launched a fascinating podcast on the mysterious death of a still-unidentified man. You can find all three episodes of the show, which is called Atlantic, here. In it, Irish Times reporter Rosita Boland investigates the 2009 death of a man who -- when he checked into a seaside hotel -- called himself Peter Bergmann. His body was found on a nearby beach five days later. There’s a text companion to the series here, but if you’re looking for resolution, look elsewhere: as things stand now, we still don’t have an ID on the man, who seemingly wanted to disappear. -- EB

If thinking about The Old Man & The Gun got you in the mood for more heists, Norco ‘80 might be up your alley. The book, which dropped last week, details the Norco bank robbery and shootout, a confrontation thats regularly referred to as one of the most violent bank robberies ever. According to author Peter Houlahan, the suspects "were not drug addicts desperate for their next fix, [or] a ring of thieves looking to pull a string of heists but instead “believed that America was on the verge of a catastrophe of biblical proportions, one in which only the well armed and well prepared would survive." The book recently got a rave review from NPR, which terms it “likely to be one of the best nonfiction books of the year.” Its publisher offers numerous ways to buy the book here. -- EB

Thursday, on Best Evidence: The Tylenol Murders, Season two of The Confession Tapes, and more When They See Us fallout.

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