Evil Genius! That HBO Adnan Syed Documentary! Miracle Whip! And More In the Dark!

There are true crime updates this week in the Adnan Syed case. First, prosecutors have decided to ask Maryland's highest court to review the previous rulings granting Adnan a new trial. Second, HBO has announced a documentary about the case is in the works. They promise new information and the first interviews with Adnan since "Serial."

We discuss episode four of "In the Dark." Something's fishy about those jailhouse confessions.

Speaking of confessions, Kevin admits he's always wanted to try the tangy taste of Miracle Whip. With three naysayers listening on, he takes his first bites.

Moving on...the crime writers go over the Netflix documentary "Evil Genius." A man robs a bank with a bomb locked around his neck. Who was the mastermind beyond the elaborate plot? Does the series give short shrift to the characters' mental illnesses? And does the story maintain the momentum of it's compelling beginning?

FOR OUR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW, GO TO 1:02.26.

Then a vintage crime of the week: step right up.

 

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In The Dark - A Great True Crime Podcast Returns!

This week the Crime Writers look at the second season of "In the Dark" from APM Reports. Madeline Baron and her team investigate the case of Curtis Flowers, a man who’s been tried six times for the same crime. Is the sophomore season of the Peabody Award winning pod delivering the goods?

TO JUMP TO THE SPOILER-FREE REVIEW, FAST-FORWARD TO 1:00:00.

Also, Kevin announces his appearance at the Toronto True Crime Film Festival June 8-9, Lara gets a fan mail slap down, and Toby gets sexually harassed.

Also mentioned: the Omni Mount Washington Resort and the More Perfect podcast episode Object Anyway.

In Crime of the Week: Rescue vs. room service.

 

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The clock's ticking on Adnan Syed's case! Done Disappeared is back! And our Caliphate podcast review!

Lara makes her triumphant return, promising to bring her A game.

We give an update on the COSA appeal in favor of Adnan Syed: why the next 15 days are important. Speaking of triumphant returns, John David Booter is back with season two of Done Disappeared. It seems crimes against water fowl are more common than John David Booter realized. (With John David Booter.) Plus, a fake astronaut claps back on The Habitat, the podcast from Gimlet we reviewed last week.

Next, we take a close look at the New York Times podcast Caliphate. Journalist Rukmimi Callimachi pulls back the curtain on how the terror group draws people to the cause, and life as a war correspondent, all in an attempt to answer the question, “Who are we fighting?”

FOR A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF CALIPHATE, GO TO 48:28:40

In Crime of the Week: if it bleeds, it leads.

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Is The Habitat a terrible podcast? Is the Golden State Killer caught??! And Westworld returns!

Is The Habitat a terrible podcast? Is the Golden State Killer caught??! And Westworld returns!

Lara picked the wrong week to go on vacation...

The panel gives their reaction to the capture of the alleged Golden State Killer. Did Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark play a roll in the arrest or is it too soon to tell?

Rebecca provides Toby an abridged update on Death In Ice Valley. Then the team offers their first impressions of season two of HBO's "Westworld."

The main event: Gimlet’s new hit podcast The Habitat. This series follows six volunteers simulating a Mars mission by being cooped up together in one small shelter for a year. Is the podcast a look at the human failings inherent in a long-term space mission? Or is NASA's version of "The Real World"?

In Crime of the Week: frugivorous felons.

Our special guest this week is Patrick Hinds, host of True Crime Obsessed. (He's very enthusiastic.)

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Extra! The Golden State Killer has been caught! So here's our I'll Be Gone In The Dark book club show!

Extra! The Golden State Killer has been caught! So here's our I'll Be Gone In The Dark book club show!

If you've been following the news, you've probably heard that the man dubbed the Golden State Killer by I'll Be Gone In The Dark author Michelle McNamara has been caught, according to multiple sources.

You probably also know that we just started making a special book club podcast for Patreon supporters. Well, in honor of the news, and to entice you to become a supporter, we're releasing our inaugural book club discussion about I'll Be Gone In The Dark.

Click here to support us on Patreon and hear future book club shows!

Book club guests: Rabia Chaudry, Patrick Hinds, and Rebecca Lavoie

Music by Twin Guns

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Death in Ice Valley! And our review of Unforgotten (on PBS!)

Death in Ice Valley! And our review of Unforgotten (on PBS!)

Internet fame is bestowed upon one of the crime writers (thanks to The Daily podcast and interpretive dancing). News from West Cork...Ian Bailey is going to have to pay a lot of money. And the panel wants to know more about what a "taint team" is.

The crime writers give their first impressions of a new podcast collaboration from the BBC World Service and NRK called, “Death in Ice Valley.” The colder the rain, the colder the case.

Masterpiece on PBS is now airing the limited British crime series, “Unforgotten.” The show follows police as they try to solve the decade’s old mystery of a skeleton found in a clay basement. The investigation involves a diverse group of characters who may have had a hand in the crime, then went on with their lives. Is "Unforgotten" worth remembering?

The crime of the week - breaking balls.

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Marcia Clark Investigates! And is Felonious Florida a felonious podcast?

 

This episode Toby announces the title and guest panel for his next Patreon book club podcast (name of podcast still TBD). The Peabody Award nominations are out, and true crime is well represented. And Rebecca reveals her new friendship with Alison Sweeney from Days of Our Lives and The Biggest Loser.

The panel talks about the new A&E series “Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48.” This new show (and companion podcast) is a mashup of the First 48’s format of highlighting the importance of the first 48 hours of an investigation, along with the OJ prosecutor taking a second look at a famous case.

Then the crime writers discuss ”Felonious Florida,” the new podcast from Wondery and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The series focuses on two crimes from the Sunshine State. Can this newspaper-sources and -staffed pod achieve the success of its predecessors? Or will it just make Rebecca's head explode?

In Crime of the Week: blow.

 

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A legal victory for Serial's Adnan Syed & a review of Empire on Blood

A legal victory for Serial's Adnan Syed & A review of Empire on Blood

This episode we breakdown the recent COSA decision affirming Adnan Syed's right to a new trial. Kevin asks Undisclosed's Colin Miller (aka Legal Siri) about how the winning and losing arguments were flipped, Adnan's chances on bail, and the local politics infused into the appeals process.

Toby talks about his new Patreon-exclusive book club podcast. He, Rebecca, Rabia Chaudry, and Patrick Hines discussed Michelle McNamara's I'll be Gone in the Dark. Also, there's some news about the TV adaptation of Dirty John (they have their John).

Moving on, Panoply is out with a seven-part podcast called Empire on Blood. It’s magazine writer Steve Fishman’s seven-year relationship with crack dealer Calvin Buari, in jail for more than twenty years for a double homicide. To tell the story of Cal’s search for justice, Fishman meets Cal’s drug dealing frienamy; a prosecutor who rescues turtles; a cop who’s too good at getting confessions; and a private eye who carries a Bible, a gun, and a bottle of wine.

To skip past the spoilers, fast-forward to 1:13:36.

In Crime of the Week - bird is the word.

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Wild Wild Country, Moon over New Mexico, and We are the Champions

Wild Wild Country, Moon over New Mexico, and We are the Champions

We said we had to win the whole damn thing - and we did! THANKS TO LISTENERS LIKE YOU we won Podcast Madness, vanquishing This America Life in the championship bracket. Now we take a victory lap!

We return to normal programming with news from the Dirty John TV show. Plus, there's a "cheeky" news story out of Albuquerque that must win all the awards.

Wild Wild Country is the topic of a wild wild panel discussion. It's the Netflix documentary about the times, town, and troubles created by a group of Rajneeshee followers who flocked to Oregon in the 1980s. The material covered is a mile wide and an inch deep. For the original Oregonian expose on the Rajneeshees, click here.

And in Crime of the Week - rotten eggs.

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BREAKING NEWS: Adnan Syed has a big win in court!

BREAKING NEWS: Adnan Syed has a big win in court!

True crime podcast update: The Court of Special Appeals has affirmed Adnan Syed's lower court ruling which vacated his conviction and grants him a new trial.

Journalist and Crime Writers On co-host Kevin Flynn has a brief breakdown of today's 138 page ruling - with a promise of more details to come.

Read the court's decision here.

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Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo, The Staircase returns, and an Atlanta Monster takedown

Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo, The Staircase returns, and an Atlanta Monster takedown

IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP! Crime Writers On is facing off against This American Life for a chance to win DiscoverPods's PODCAST MADNESS. We are one win away from SHOCKING THE WORLD! Let's get it done: vote now at discoverpods.com.

The panel tackles quite a bit this week: more "Staircase" episodes coming, the "Black Tapes" fake out, a scathing review in Slate on "Atlanta Monster," books that stay with us, and a special announcement for our Patreon supporters (it involves Toby).

Moving on, season two of CBC’s Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo looks at the case of a girl both murdered and now missing. Will Connie Walker find the Cree girl adopted into some American family? Will she skillfully tie the tale to the heartbreaking story of Canada's "Sixties Scoop"? What do the crime writers think of it?

Then in crime of the week - ready player one.

(Wanna see that "human looking dog?" Click here.)

 

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O.J. Confessed? Atlanta Monster revisited? Seven Seconds Reviewed! (And more!)

O.J. Confessed? Atlanta Monster revisited? Seven Seconds Reviewed! (And more!)

And then there were four...Crime Writers On destroyed S-town in the Elite Eight round on DiscoverPods's Podcast Madness. Now, in the Final Four, it's time for CWO Nation to propel us to victory over Wine and Crime. VOTE FOR US AT DISCOVERPODS.COM.

This episode the panel blitzes through a bunch of topics. Who knew Stormy Daniels was an accomplished equestrian? That $500m lottery winner gets to remain anonymous. Why did Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth) get paid less than Matt Smith (Prince Philip) on "The Crown"? Toby finished Atlanta Monster and has some further thoughts. Did OJ Simpson really confess on that Fox special...or did he REALLY confess? And what's on the Scientology TV Network tonight?

Then the crime writers talk about the new Netflix series "Seven Seconds." The drama explores the effect of a covered-up hit-and-run on the victim's parents, the driver and his crooked police partners, and the alcoholic DA assigned to the case. And can someone explain why everyone's car is so dirty?

TO REMAIN SPOILER-FREE AND SKIP TO OUR REVIEWS OF SEVEN SECONDS, JUMP AHEAD TO 1:00:56

In Crime of the Week - the hits keep on coming.

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A McMafia Review, An EPIC Rant & "I'll be Gone in the Dark"

No more messing around! CWO has made it to the Elite Eight in Discoverpods' Podcast Madness. With the help of awesome listeners like YOU, we can beat that little-known podcast S-town and advance to the Final Four. Vote at discoverpods.com! LET'S SHOCK THE WORLD!

Meantime...back in our podcast...the panel talks about updates from "The Pope's Long Con" and "Mommy Dead & Dearest." We listen to a profanity-laden rant from "Crime in Sports" about self-important podcasters. And we talk about the gripping new book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, published posthumously by Michelle McNamara.

Our main event: "McMafia," the new organized crime series from BBC and AMC. This good-guy-dragged-in-bad-deeds tale is expensive and extravagant, but will audiences like its high-finance meets underworld story?

In Crime of the Week - deadly deodorant.

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Disgraceland reviewed, the Pope's final con, & Dassey's SCOTUS appeal

IT'S A CINDERELLA STORY! Thanks to you, we've advanced past the first round of discover pods's Podcast Madness. Thanks for voting. It's on to round two where we will likely face a gangland-style death at the hands of "Crimetown." Nevertheless, we'd appreciate you clicking here and voting in Round Two.

Before we take a week off for school vacation (thank you, children) we'll circle back to some important True Crime Updates. The election to fill the statehouse seat of the late Danny Ray Johnson, subject of the "The Pope's Long Con," was this week...and it wasn't even close. "Making a Murderer"'s Branden Dassey has asked SCOTUS for a Writ of Cert (we'll explain what that means).

The headliner for this show is the rock'n'roll-themed "Disgraceland." No interviews. No investigations. No audio tape. Not even the artists' music. Just a host spinning tales of musicians behaving very badly. Does this new chart-topper hit all the right notes?

In Crime of the Week, it's one thumb down.

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HBO's Mosaic, lottery woes, and a brief return to West Cork

HBO's Mosaic, lottery woes, and a brief return to West Cork

VOTE FOR US in the Podcast Madness bracket from discoverpods.com. Help us advance to at least the second round.

This week we ponder the problems of winning $550 million in the lottery and keeping a low profile. We get a love letter from Ireland and circle back to "West Cork" with a spoiler-full discussion about the prime suspect.

IF YOU STILL WANT TO REMAIN SPOILER-FREE ON WEST CORK, SKIP AHEAD TO 33:16.

Then we'll have an up-close look at "Mosaic," Stephen Soderbergh's multi-platform storytelling experience. The six-part HBO limited series deals with the murder of a famous children’s book writer. While the concept is ambitious, does "Mosaic" deliver the goods?

TO SKIP AHEAD OF OUR DISCUSSION ON MOSAIC AT GET RIGHT TO OUR REVIEWS, GO TO 1:02:24.

And this week's Crime of the Week is grrrrrrrreat!

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Double Take: The Onion's 'A Very Fatal Murder' and our (spoiler free) 'West Cork' review

Double Take: The Onion's 'A Very Fatal Murder' and our (spoiler free) 'West Cork' review

Not even a blizzard can stop the Crime Writers from their appointed rounds (though it may crackle the connection once in a while).

We get skeeved out by the latest accusations of "Making a Murderer" defense-lawyer-now-judge Len Kachinsky (cue your own cat noises). There's a notable cameo in "Sword & Scale." And we toss around our thoughts on the Onion's new true crime parody podcast, "A Very Fatal Murder." Does a send up of the crime podcast world seem like it's about three months too late?

Then a no-blarney, spoiler-free review of Audible's new 13-part series, "West Cork." The famous1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is relatively unknown to American listeners. Not since "Serial" have we had such access to a prime suspect. We'll tell you whether you should make time for this one.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, YOU CAN LISTEN TO WEST CORK FOR FREE ON AUDIBLE - EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION. Our review is truly spoiler-free, but if you still want to skip right to our verdicts, go to 53:22.

Then in Crime of Week, how else are you going to carry all that dough around?

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A Done Disappeared encore, Slow Burn’s next story, The Walk’s big idea, The Alienist reviewed

A Done Disappeared encore, Slow Burn’s next story, The Walk’s big idea, The Alienist reviewed

The Crime Writers take on a trio of True Crime Podcast Updates as Slow Burn wraps up season one and teases a *fantastic* follow-up, Dirty John lands a scripted series, and our best friend John David Booter tries to raise funds (click here to help him!) for a second season in which he’ll appropriate all things 1980’s.

Then, our take on The Walk, the hit podcast from Panoply. This show is trying to do something completely different with a story that puts the listener in the middle of the action. But does it work? Or is it just the prototype for a future, better iteration of the format?

And, a review of the TNT adaptation of the smash bestselling book The Alienist. (If you want to skip any and all potential spoilers and just hear the review, go to 51:04.)

 

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In which we review "Dark" from Netflix and retract our criticism of a maligned media figure

 Caves. The Hellmouth to every good story.

Caves. The Hellmouth to every good story.

This week we unveil the new name for Studio C (it's a mouthful), learn Toby's actually the nice one, and get freaked out by what this drug can make you do in your sleep.

The Crime Writers eat some humble pie and admit they were too quick to dismiss one of America's most underappreciated media figures last week - Keith Morrison from Dateline NBC. Some special podcasters will join the discussion - and you can find their awesome show A Date With Dateline right here.

The main focus shifts to the new Netflix series, "Dark." This German-language "Stranger Things"-meets-"Lost" has everything: caves, dead birds, surprisingly depressing school plays...and a cast of characters dripping in Teutonic angst. (Try this link to see the Dark family trees.)

TO JUMP OVER THE SPOILERS AND GO STRAIGHT TO OUR REVIEWS, FAST FORWARD TO TIME CODE 59:59.

Then in crime of the week: I love you. You love me. But it's going to cost you $350.

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Atlanta Monster gets a review! And Dirty John gets the prime time treatment!

Atlanta Monster gets a review! And Dirty John gets the prime time treatment!

It was one of 2017's biggest podcasts. Now the tale of "Dirty John" gets the treatment from Dateline NBC. Does a 42 minute TV episode add anything to a story already told over five hours in podcast form? Maybe just some pictures of how hunky John Meehan really was.

The main event: we breakdown the first installments in "Atlanta Monster," the new podcast from Payne Lindsey's Tenderfoot TV and HowStuffWorks. This look back at the 1980s Atlanta child murders is billed as "an investigative podcast," but where is it taking us? Does Lindsey repeat the best parts (or the worst parts) of his hit debut "Up and Vanished"?

And in the Crime of the WeekGesundheit!

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WTF Wormwood? At least we still have Slow Burn...

WTF Wormwood? At least we still have Slow Burn...

"We are not crooks." This episode we'll circle back to Slate's excellent Watergate-based series, "Slow Burn." Look what happens when those who believe in conspiracies learn those conspiracies are actual conspiracies.

Speaking of conspiracies within conspiracies, we ponder Netflix's "Wormwood." The genre-blending documentary about a secret CIA LSD-induced suicide is only the first layer in a trippy, troubling tale from Oscar winner director Errol Morris. Points for using Hollywood actors Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker to dramatize the back story, but did this unconventional series deliver the goods?

Then in Crime of the Week, a little bit of pot goes a long way when deciding who to arrest.

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