Rather than refer to this post as another rerun, I like the term classique, used by copywriting guru John Forde in his May 22 e-newsletter. So here’s a classique that is as accurate today as it was in July 2010, with a brief update at the end.
Murder She Watches…and Watches
I’m ready to admit I have a problem and should get myself to a meeting of True Crime Addicts Anonymous (TCAA)—if only someone would establish such a group. I love, love, love true crime shows like: 48 Hours Mystery, Cold Case Files (the one narrated by Bill Kurtis, not to be confused with the overly dramatic, fictional show), Dateline, The First 48, Forensic Files, and Snapped, to name a few.
I am drawn to stories about husbands who kill their wives and, sometimes, wives who kill their husbands. They always start out as a deliriously happy couple with their adorable children, pillars of the community and their church—and then, mayhem and murder. What I love most is the moment the DNA matches, an alibi falls apart, or a long-lost witness finds God and comes forward. Then, at last, the detectives nail the SOB! Sweet.
I have also read many books by Ann Rule, the former policewoman turned crime writer.
If there were a TCAA, here are the 12 steps I would probably have to go through, one by one:
1. I admit I am powerless over tuning into these programs. I’ve even watched reruns of 48 Hours Mystery and then watched them again when they became 48 Hours: Hard Evidence on cable.
2. I confess to watching particularly juicy stories, like the Scott/Lacy Peterson case over and over. I freely admit I have told myself I’m just going to see the part where Amber finds out what her seemingly single boyfriend was up to, but I keep watching anyway. I am sorry about this waste of time.
3. I solemnly swear I have no intent to murder my spouse and I’m not gathering ideas by watching these shows. I apologize to said spouse for making him nervous.
4. I promise to erase any memory of words like ethylene glycol and cholino-succinate and other sneaky poisons used in so many of these cases—and sometimes discovered only when, or if, the body is exhumed.
5. I apologize to any friend or family member who has called me during the last 15 minutes of one of these shows. I apologize too for my reaction at the first ring of the phone (“Who the hell can that be?”) and for saying, “I’ll call you back later,” when I do answer it.@
7. I am sorry if I silently offended owners and operators of self-storage facilities, as well as those who rent the units. The only time I accompanied my husband to our newly acquired storage space, I shuttered as we walked past all those metal doors, wondering if any of them housed dead bodies sealed in oil drums. (I’ve seen quite a few episodes that end like this.)
8. I will make amends for all the food that overcooked or languished in the microwave while I stood in front of the TV waiting for the jury’s verdict.
9—12. I own up to the fact that I won’t take the time to declare the last four steps because I think an episode of Forensic Files comes on in a few minutes.
Update, May 29, 2015: I discovered yet another true crime show: Cold Justice. It may be off the air for the season, but it’s usually shown on Friday evenings on TNT. It features Kelly Siegler, a former Texas prosecutor who first caught my eye in one of the other true crime shows. She was fascinating to watch and a bit formidable. Her nickname was “giant killer.” Kelly and partner Yolanda McClary, former Crime Scene Investigator for the Vegas police department, offer their crime-solving services to police departments around the country with cold cases on their books. It’s not an action show; in fact, it’s pretty slow-paced. But it’s interesting to watch the process of elimination of suspects and what re-interviewing witnesses years later can uncover.
Bottom line: I’m still addicted.