The Blotter Presents, Episode 122: Slow Burn and Hunting Warhead

Plus: Part two of your holiday-weekend reading list

Sorry, folks, it doesn’t look like Slow Burn is going to solve the Biggie and Tupac cases. The Slate podcast’s third season is the outlet’s biggest ever (300k downloads of its first episode in 24 hours), perhaps a result of its topic pivot: While season one was about Watergate and season two was on the Clinton impeachment, this time around they’re tackling the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G, who were killed on September 7, 1996 and March 9, 1997, respectively.

“Slow Burn” is in the title, and that speed descriptor might make this season hard to handle for less patient listeners, Sarah and guest Toby Ball agree (I feel so seen), and the podcast producers’ efforts to give the crimes a broader context could either enrich readers or frustrate them, depending on your familiarity with the case. It’s pretty safe to assume that new evidence won’t be uncovered over the course of the pod -- like I always say about ghost-hunting shows, if someone found something substantive, we’d have heard about it before the episode aired. You can listen to Toby and Sarah’s discussion of Slow Burn here. -- EB

In the show’s second section, Sarah and Toby turned their ears to Hunting Warhead, a co-production of Norwegian newspaper VG and the CBC. The podcast follows efforts to take down a global child porn network, so all the requisite trigger warnings apply. Though Sarah and Toby agree that the reporting in Hunting Warhead is excellent, they say that listening to the show is a “harrowing experience.”

I remember feeling the same way about a September investigation from the New York Times headlined “The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong?” In both cases, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the horrors within the story -- and by the truth that people who avidly consume these products of exploitation (or worse) move among us. You don’t want to bury your head in the sand, but letting coverage of these crimes into your brain can also feel like self-flagellation. I’m not sure what the balance is, there, but tips and discussion are always welcome in the comments. Meanwhile, if you’re interested, Hunting Warhead can be found here, and Sarah and Toby’s conversation on it (a safer bet if you’re on the fence) is here. -- EB

If you were thinking that you needed four-year-old Kathleen Zellner content to get you through the long holiday weekend, Netflix has you covered. The streaming giant just added Dream/Killer to its roster, a 2015 documentary on the slaying of journalist Kent Heitholt and subsequent conviction of Charles Erickson and Ryan Ferguson for the death.

Zellner, who you likely recall from the second season of Making A Murderer (which Sarah and I discussed last year), managed to reverse Ferguson’s conviction, freeing him for efforts like MTV’s Unlocking The Truth. So she’s featured pretty prominently in Dream/Killer, which (at the time of its release) scored a glowing review in the NYT (“fast-paced and frightening”). If you’re looking for a case to discuss with your family that doesn’t involve impeachment, this doc might be what you’re looking for. -- EB

Speaking of the holidays, we’re off the rest of the week! But before we go, here’s some stuff to consume until we return on Monday:

Monday on Best Evidence: I’m sure all sorts of things will happen between now and then, so let’s be surprised together.

Like what you’re reading? Wish there was more of it?

Already subscribe, and want to share the joy of Best Evidence?

Give a gift subscription