It’s a fact – true crime is bigger than ever. Whether it’s podcasts, TV series, books or even stage shows, true crime is high on our list of most wanted. But how much is enough? The cup runneth over and we continue to lap like dutiful kittens at the milk bowl of murder and mayhem.
This week, our thirst for true crime will be quenched by three television series. In Foxtel’s Ron Iddles: The Good Cop (Start Thurs., Jan. 31 at 7.30pm; CI), the celebrated homicide detective takes us through some of his most intriguing murder cases. In the first of six episodes, Iddles discusses the investigation into the case of 16-year-old Michelle Buckingham, whose body was found dumped by the side of the road near Shepparton, Victoria, in 1983.
Thank goodness he’s a good cop. Could you imagine if they did a series about a bad one? Johnny Plod: Bad Cop – crime never sleeps, but he does after he’s feasted on a six-pack of glazed doughnuts.
Over on the Nine Network, you can get your crime fill watching Murder, Lies & Alibis (starts Mon., Feb. 4 at 9pm). In this two-parter, Nine News investigator Mark Llewellyn looks into the murder of podiatrist and businessman Phillip Vasyli.
It’s an interesting case. Vasyli was found stabbed to death at his mansion in the Bahamas in 2015, and his wife Donna was sentenced to 20 years for his murder. However, in 2017, a judge overturned her conviction and ordered a retrial. In the doco, Llewellyn travels to the West Indies to investigate. What will he find? Likely that life was not all lavish parties, sports cars and Bob Marley singalongs for the Vasylis.
Channel Seven also has Undercurrent (Episode 2 airs Wed., Feb. 6 at 9pm), which delves into a case of a missing person. On Netflix, the docuseries Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes takes you inside the mind of the serial killer. What a scary, twisted place to be.
And if you can tear yourself away from your screen, speaking tour A Conversation with Laura Nirider, Steven Drizin and David Rudolf is coming to venues around Australia in March. Nirider and Drizin are lawyers from the Netflix docuseries Making A Murderer and Rudolf is a lawyer from another Netflix series, The Staircase.
The big question is why we’re so obsessed with the subject matter. Podcasts such as Serial and Teacher’s Pet have fanned the flames of our fascination with crime. As a society, we find the idea of evil – and the kind of person who carries out evil deeds – intriguing. There is also the idea that we’re attracted to true crime for the same reason we can’t help but stare at a car crash. We know it’s macabre, but we just have to know what happened, right?
Research shows it’s women who are driving this passion for true crime. Jo Thornely, who hosts the cult-focused podcast Zealot, last year told the ABC the more informed she is about crime “the more safe and empowered I feel.” If that’s the case, readers would be wise to arm themselves by watching these shows. It would almost be a crime not to.