I came into this with a lot of apprehension. I mean, this IS the History Channel. How they have covered true crime in the past has been fair to good, but they also back projects like Hunting for Hitler which was a bizarre waste of viewing time. What compelled me to watch was that fellow true crime author Ken Mains was involved. We write for the same publisher (Wild Blue Press) and I loved his book on cold cases, Unsolved No More. His involvement meant there might be hope for this series.
I was not disappointed.
Mains and retired LAPD homicide detective, Sal LaBarbera host the show and have come at Zodiac from a completely different angle than I expected. They are targeting those crimes that Zodiac claimed credit for beyond the ones he was confirmed to have been involved with. This is proving an awesome approach. It means we are getting perspectives and names of suspects not commonly tied to the Zodiac case. Some of these are downright creepy persons of interest that might very well have ties to the more well-known Zodiac cases.
Added to this is the use of the CARMEL supercomputer which is being used to attempt to break Zodiac’s previously unbroken codes. As an IT guy, I was intrigued by this new angle and approach. Yes it is geeky, but it is cool. When the computer began to write Zodiac inspired poetry – I have to admit, the creep factor went up to 9.6.
The combination of seasoned veteran investigators, a new perspective on Zodiac, and the use of a supercomputer has forged a new true crime show that is must-watch TV. The investigators are engaging, the pace is good, and they are going where the evidence takes them. I have to admit, I look forward to the new episode every week.
If you haven’t been following The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer, I suggest you drink in these first episodes and get up to speed. New perspectives on cold cases are always welcome additions to what we think we know about these infamous crimes.