Podcast reviews & recommendations.
Navigating the overwhelmingly dense world of documentary podcasts one season at a time.
Listen. Review. Repeat.
Reporter Lauren Bright Pacheco and her team fail to tell listeners the truth — that Murder in Illinois never intends to present a balanced case and let them make their own minds up. Rather its narrators, witnesses, evidence and all journalistic effort is hell bent on exonerating Vaughn.
Once you know that, it’s probably easier to enjoy.
This is a fascinating story, told carefully and concisely by Kary Antholis, who deftly builds the character of Orr – and outwardly intelligent and highly renowned arson investigator – before introducing listeners to the clues and hunches that ultimately reveal him as an unlikely but prolific fire setter.
The prospect of using pattern-matching algorithms for detection is already part of public conversation, but mostly in the negative sense. Kuebrich makes a good case for how more sophisticated methods could help clear unsolved cases, which tend to disproportionately effect black communities. He also manages to shed some important light on the issue of untested rape kits.
Of course, the Mudaugh case is fascinating to begin with, but what Matney brings to the table is expert knowledge — both of the case itself and also of good storytelling. She busts myths, introduces new and important details, carefully constructs and deconstructs scenarios and, critically, she’s does a brilliant job of familiarizing her listeners with the local politics and hierarchies of her part of South Carolina.
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