Manhunt: Unabomber makes a compelling mystery out of a story whose ending you already know

It’s the perfect true-crime story for fans of word games.

Every Sunday, we pick a new episode of the week. It could be good. It could be bad. It will always be interesting. You can read the archives here. The episode of the week for August 6 through 12 is “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree,” the third episode of Discovery Channel’s Manhunt: Unabomber.

On some level, the appeal of a mystery story is getting to solve the case alongside the protagonist. The best mysteries lay out all the evidence before your very eyes, but only make sense once you put that evidence together in a certain way, one that the author has deviously hidden from you. The worst mysteries intentionally withhold key evidence so you could never possibly guess the solution. In other words, they cheat. (For more on this, I recommend this excellent, though very long, video takedown of the BBC series Sherlock.)

True crime, in contrast, usually presupposes that you know the ending right from the start. For the most part, true crime stories conclude with someone behind bars, even if there’s some question as to whether that person actually committed the crime (as in, say, Making a Murderer or Serial). Rather than give viewers a mystery to help solve, they let viewers get to know the very worst of human nature from a safe distance. It’d be impossible to make a TV series where the writers tried to keep the identity of Jeffrey Dahmer a secret — his story is simply too well known. But a true crime show about the serial killer might aim to delve into his psychology, or the gruesomeness of his crimes, or the story of how he was caught, or all of the above.

A combination of these …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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