The Blotter Presents, Episode 109: Mindhunter and The Informant!

Plus: Netflix has found its Selena

On this week’s podcast, Sarah is joined by journalist Will Leitch for a discussion on the second season of Mindhunter. The big question, of course, is if the show still works once it moves from the theoretical (“hey, maybe we can apply what these incarcerated killers say to ongoing crimes, who’d’ve thought!”) to the actual, as well as if it can retain our attention when savvy viewers know that its two “biggest” cases won’t be solved in the current window. After all, we we’ve discussed before, no one was ever arrested for the deaths of all those children in Atlanta, and BTK doesn’t go down into 2005 -- so you can be forgiven for feeling a surge of impatience every time that mask comes out.

Be aware that Sarah and Will’s discussion covers the whole season, so if you’re like me and haven’t managed to finish it yet (in my defense, I’m on vacation), you might want to hold off on listening to this week’s episode until you’re done. Otherwise, give it a listen here. -- EB

For their Cold Case, Will and Sarah take on The Informant!, Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 look at the Archer Daniels Midland price-fixing scandal. In the film, Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, who made a name for himself as (per his website) the highest-level U.S. executive to ever turn whistleblower for the feds.

The movie is an adaptation of Kurt Eichenwald’s exclamation-point-free book on the matter, also called The Informant. I remember liking the book plenty (Eichenwald’s pretty reliable, in my opinion), but I gotta admit -- the movie’s marketing via that open-mouthed, toupee-d (OR NOT? Discuss, wig cops) Matt Damon shot put me off. Apparently I was wrong, though -- Sarah and Will term the film (which, like Mindhunter, is right here on Netflix) “hilarious.” You can hear their chat about the genre-buster here. -- EB

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has pulled together some links to how it covered the case at the heart of Mindhunter’s second season. The paper of record for the eponymous site of the child murders John Douglas avatar Holden Ford seeks to investigate has two pages of archives on the case, and has also curated a timelined list of links to the most relevant coverage.

The paper also offers a nice rundown on William "Junior" Pierce, the candy bar fan who brought Ford to Atlanta, and William Henry Hance, the so-called “Stocking Strangler” who also appears in episode three. You can take a look at the AJCs coverage on the cases here. -- EB

Netflix has reportedly found its Selena. We mentioned Selena: The Series in passing last month, and now we know more: the show on the the life and death of Tejano star Selena Quintanilla will star 28-year-old Christian Serratos, Vulture reports. You might know Serratos as Rosita on The Walking Dead, a show that pretty much everyone I know has stopped watching but I guess her character’s still alive -- it’s unclear if Serratos’s commitment to Netflix will cause her character’s demise and at this point, I honestly do not care.

As this is not a Walking Dead publication, it’s a true crime one, I’ll stop bagging on that terrible show and will just say that as the Selena series has a two season deal and will be shot in Mexico, you can draw your own conclusions. Production will reportedly begin next month, and will include Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and her sister Suzette Quintanilla as executive producers. -- EB

James Polchin is talking to Oxygen about “gay panic.” Polchin’s the author of Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall, a book that Mark Blankenship recently reviewed for us (you can read Mark’s assessment here). For Oxygen, Polchin dives deeper into the case of Kenneth Neu, a drifter who admitted to killing at least two men after they allegedly made romantic advances -- the so-called “gay panic” defense.

“Local municipalities were creating their own sex-crime laws and the FBI was taking an interest in creating files on homosexual men. All homosexual men got wrapped up into this panic,” Polchin says, and Neu’s conviction -- which you might think would be a victory for gay equality -- wasn’t. As a court ruled that Neu’s acts were “evidence of the killer’s sanity,” he was given the death penalty, and was hanged on February 1, 1935. You can read Polchin’s Oxygen interview here. -- EB

Thursday on Best Evidence: Oh, we have a good “Why Hasn’t This Been Adapted” for you this week!

What is this thing? This should help.

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