The Blotter Presents, Episode 132: The Pharmacist, 'False Witness'

Plus: Tabloid TV (and streaming)

On this week’s The Blotter Presents podcast, Sarah is joined by our fellow Substack writer Jeb Lund to discuss Netflix’s The Pharmacist. Even for a buzz-driven platform like Netflix, The Pharmacist has been buzzy, so there are obvious questions on its hype cycle to be answered.

Sarah and Jeb agree that the show, which covers disparate issues like familial grief and the opiate crisis, has pacing problems and drops the ball when it comes to matters like racial inequality and police corruption. Still, they found its central figure to be a sympathetic one, and appreciated its explication of pill-mill economies. You can hear their full discussion here, and watch The Pharmacist here. — EB

As Best Evidence readers know from Monday’s issue, Sarah’s got a bit of an obsession with the Jeffrey MacDonald (aka Fatal Vision) murder case. She allowed Jeb to join her on that journey this week (which marks the 50th anniversary of the deaths of Colette Kathryn Stevenson MacDonald —MacDonald’s pregnant wife — and the couple’s daughters, Kimberly and Kristen) with a look at “False Witness,” a MacDonald-centric episode of BBC documentary series Inside Story that aired in 1989.

You can watch the full episode above (it’s 90 minutes, so get comfy), which Sarah describes as a show that “purports to examine both sides of the story, but seems to spend most of its run time either verrrrry faintly judging MacDonald in dry British style” and “explaining how the late ’60s in the States differed from the British experience.”

Sarah and Jeb agree that the show left important details out, and didn’t seem to have a clear idea of its audience. You can listen to their full assessment of the doc here. — EB

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A TV adaptation of Slow Burn’s first season hit TVs and streams this week. The first episode of Epix’s docuseries based on the popular podcast’s Watergate season aired its first episode on Sunday — so far, two episodes are available online, and the first one is free even if you aren’t an Epix subscriber.

Speaking with Slate — which produced the podcast — host (of both properties) Leon Neyfakh says that when making the podcast version, there were “a bunch of plots that we kind of left on the table,” but for TV, they were able to “talk to people in the White House” and explore “the mechanics of the operation that led to the Watergate burglary.”

In addition, the show was able to score an interview with Roger Stone, who didn’t come on the podcast. But Neyfakh says Stone agreed to do the video version, likely because that meant that he “was going to be on TV.” You can catch up on Slow Burn (the podcast) here, try the TV version here, and read Neyfakh’s full interview here. — EB

Investigation Discovery is planning two new shows as part of a partnership with the New York Post. Variety reports that the outlets are planning a series called Torn From The Headlines: The New York Post Reports to cover “behind the headlines of some of New York City’s darkest crimes,” and New York Post Reports: Off The Record, which is not actually “off the record,” as it’s a show “on more recent crimes and scandals.”

TFTH:TNYPR will kick its first season off on ID on Monday, March 16 at 10 PM ET. NYPR:OTR gets a less plum position in the roster, as it’ll run only on IDGO, the channel’s mobile app. It’ll appear there on March 30. —EB

Somehow, I find myself saddled with more stories than I can pack into each newsletter this week. So, here’s a roundup of stories I’ve been reading:

  • In Memoriam is a documentary focused on the victims of mass shootings. The film was recently aired on Investigation Discovery sans commercials, prompting a driveby dig from CNN, which said that the network is “usually devoted to lurid true crime.” It’s available to stream here.

  • ABC legal drama For Life was inspired by a true story. The show is loosely based on the case of Isaac Wright, Jr., an impresario who reportedly created the 1980s-era girl group Cover Girls, and was reportedly wrongly convicted for cocaine trafficking by a prosecutor who later took his own life after he was convicted for embezzlement and abuse of power. Esquire’s got the scoop.

  • So, you’re an impeachment-focused podcast that’s got a solid subscriber base; WTF do you do now? The Verge runs down nine impeachment podcasts (on both sides) that’ll either have to figure out a graceful pivot or exit the arena. Some are doing better than others!

Thursday on Best Evidence: Scotland Yard, and Irish crimes!

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