You know the story by now: though R. Kelly had faced allegations of rape for years, it wasn’t until an FBI agent watched Surviving R. Kelly that law enforcement officials dedicated enough resources to investigate those claims that the singer would finally face charges. That show joins so many other true crime properties in proving that if done well, the attention brought to a lukewarm case can bring it to a boil — and that in the right hands, true crime content can wield an impressive power.
We all have cases in the backs of our heads that we’re dissatisfied by — allegations that seemed to go nowhere, or suspects who return to the other side, seemingly flourishing. I’ll tell you mine: It’s Mario Batali, whose alleged pattern of sexual harassment and assault spanned decades, but didn’t get much of an official investigation. His partners (including Sarah’s sometime nemesis Joe Bastianich) bought him out of his restaurants in March of 2019 (something Batali was probably glad about as the entire industry collapsed a year later due to the coronavirus crisis), and last I heard, he was living Northport, Michigan, and was doing just fine. This is a man who had a show with Gwyneth Paltrow! A thoughtful, victim-focused docuseries on the impact his alleged behavior had, within the context of the context of the overall “bad boy chef” bullshit of the restaurant industry is something I’d watch the hell out of, and I bet I’m not the only one.
What about you? What high-profile story, cold case, or scandal do you believe needs a new, 2021-era true crime take? Are you thinking movie, TV, podcast, or book? And who do you think should helm such a project? — EB
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