Being a true crime author I am a huge fan of A&E’s LivePD Things I learned watching Live PD I figured since everyone is forced to sit and watch TV this weekend, I would provide you a fun little game to add to your viewing pleasure.
Just like regular Bingo, you want to get five across. The first one that does, wins. I’m providing four game boards, but you can easily make your own. You can come up with your own prizes, be it shots or cookies — whatever floats your boat. Simply print and cut these out, use pennies, beans, pickles, or whatever to mark your progress. Good luck!
Feel free to share this and have some fun watching Live PD while stuck in your house!
Okay, this isn’t your typical true crime series – there is only one dead body. This is about the greatest scam in modern times. It covers the crimes tied to McDonalds’ Monopoly game and that for years, the game was 100% rigged.
You didn’t know? I remember bits and pieces of this story, but I never knew the entire story. A friend turned me onto this HBO series and my wife and I got hooked. The FBI agent who started the ball rolling made it for me. I wish everyone in the FBI was a gung ho as this guy. The undercover sting videos were wonderful!
The series begins with a simple tip – that the McDonald’s games are all rigged by someone called “Uncle Jerry.” It turns out to be much bigger than that. The mob is involved, as well as multiple Jerry’s. There’s a questionable death, shady characters, and some remarkably bizarre twists. The spider web of winners and middlemen in all of this is incredible.
You are left, until the last episode, not knowing just how the pieces got stolen and switched out – or who the informant was. We were shocked on the last episode, which means the producers did it right.
Some of the winners try desperately to paint themselves as victims which I disliked. All but one, in my opinion, knew exactly what they were doing as part of this criminal conspiracy. They paid money to middlemen for the winning tickets. They knew the game was rigged and were cheating not just McDonalds but everyone who played and thought they had a chance of winning.
We were riveted to each episode, so the pacing is good. I think if you tune into this you will not be disappointed. It is a top-notch true crime production. You’re stuck in the house anyway, so use your social distancing time appropriately and watch this series.
I know this will stun some folks but I don’t watch football. It’s just not my thing. What I knew about this case was limited. New England Patriot’s player Aaron Hernandez, a man at the top of his game professionally, had been convicted of murder then had hanged himself. That was what I knew going into this mini-series on Netflix.
The series is very good and well produced. There’s some hopping around that takes place but they make great use of a timeline to help you keep track of what is happening. What emerges is a very complex story. It is a strange cocktail of sorts to watch. Hernandez apparently, from what was shown, was gay, which may have led to some emotional conflict in his life. He had a drug problem in that he vigorously chain-smoked marijuana. Anyone saying that pot smoking is harmless needs to see it in the context of the person doing the smoking – and in this case, Hernandez lived his later years high. He is portrayed as a young man that had a strained relationship with his mother. Hernandez surrounded himself with horrible people which led to not just one murder, but several. His family members covered up for him, which in the end, only made matters worse.
You get a story that is purely American with some almost neo-gothic twists. The New England Patriots tried to fill a void in his life in terms of discipline, but failed miserably. They knew he was emotionally immature, but he became immersed in a lifestyle that allowed him whatever he wanted. There were no boundaries with him, and that led to a spectacular downfall.
Was he the victim of repeated concussions? Certainly that case is made at the end of the series, but you realize that even with his head trauma, there was something else at play…a lack of moral compass or control. When I was done watching it I felt that his downfall was inevitable and was destined to be spectacular. Hernandez is an American tragedy and one we have not learned from. You are left wondering how many others are out there just like him.
It is notable that his wife and family didn’t take part in the series, nor did the Patriots. So you are left wondering if there was even more to this story that we have yet to see.
Overall, I give this four out of five stars. Good true crime. I’m sure football fans will rate it much higher.
A friend of mine recommended I watch this series about the disappearance of this young three-year-old in Portugal in 2007. I have to admit, I went in with prejudice. Like most of us, I was fed a steady stream of news reports about Madeleine’s disappearance and it felt to me like the parents were somehow involved.
The series reduced that feeling, but there are some things that still don’t add up for me. The fact that the series made me question my preconceived notion is a good sign.
The series is, well, slow. It is plodding along, without a sense of tempo or care for the audience. Having said that, I think it does a very good job of layout out the events. There are a lot of blind allies the producers take you down. The whole human trafficking angle is intriguing, but at the same time, lacks any substance…at least from what I saw. Theories are thrown at the wall to see what will stick, which is not a good approach to such a series.
Adding to this were the cast of characters that latched onto the case. Psychics, dog handlers, private investigators…some seeming to insert themselves into the case for the publicity. It is a cautionary tale for anyone that loses a loved one in the same manner…be wary of the company you keep.
The authorities were in over their heads from the start of the case. They fingered people, for legitimate reasons in their minds, but mismanaged every aspect of the investigation. There is a bombshell (of sorts) about the lead investigator that pops in the middle of the series, something that I was surprised about.
Did I soften my feeling about the parents as suspects? Yes. But some of their actions still raise big eyebrows for me. Their attempt to get their dinner guests to align on their stories, for example, made little sense. As a parent, I wouldn’t have left my kids in that situation – but I am also not from their culture nor was I there. Seeds of doubt remain with me.
I give this about a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It could have been reduced to three or four episodes easily, and would have been more enjoyable. The constant drone shots of the beach and the city made this far too many episodes long.
When we left off in season one, Agent Holden was having a panic/anxiety attack. It was a compelling cliffhanger, that much was for sure. What we saw was how much the serial killers he was interviewing had managed to get into his head.
Season two picks up soon thereafter. The cause of Holden’s second anxiety incident is a stunner that made the entire episode for me. Where the first season focused on Holden, this was more about Agent Tench and the issues he is facing. The shift of character was a good one and artfully executed. Bill has problems, his son becomes entangled in the murder of a young boy, a crime that tears at his family past the point of breaking.
Things have changed for the entire team. Their boss was fired and replaced with someone that solidly backs the unit and sees the value of it. Intertwined in this is their ongoing interviews with serial killers, the BTK case, and the case that makes the unit finally accepted – The Atlanta Child Killer.
The beginning of most of the episodes drops little hints of a serial killer, BTK. The unit is digging into this case but getting nowhere. That’s okay, we all know it will take years to bring this one to conclusion.
The character that is shorted in this is Dr. Wendy Carr. We explore her lifestyle and the conflicts she has between what people say and what is real. Unfortunately the way this season is structured, we miss the chemistry of the three main characters throughout. While Holden and Tench are working the Atlanta Child Killer cases, she is more or less sidelined.
For me, there were two serial killer interviews that popped. One was with the Son of Sam, the other was with Charles Manson. I don’t ruin this for you, but they are not only well written, but excellently cast. The Berkowitz character comes across as so close to reality, you wonder if they are interviewing the real killer. Manson comes across as very authentic to interviews I’ve seen. Kudos to the folks in casting.
There was a lot of accuracy to the entire Atlanta Child Killer case which was both disturbing and compelling. It does not portray the Atlanta PD in a positive light.
What makes this series sizzle for me is the settings and props from the early 1980’s. As someone who lived in that era, it is pretty dead-on accurate.
I enjoyed this season a great deal, but miss the trio of key characters working together. Now we have to wait for Netflix to get around to working on season three. A solid five out of five stars.
I have been collecting and reading comic books for well over four decades. I’m no expert in the genre, I just know what I like, and that changes a lot over time.
When I saw The Boys advertised on Prime I thought I’d give it a shot. It starts out simple enough. The world has superheroes. They are owned/controlled by a corporation. They are big business – from reality shows to product endorsements. The best known group, The Seven, seem squeaky clean.
That was the first ten minutes or so. After that, you see things take a hard left into the bizarre.
Then you see one of the heroes kill a young girl – picture the Flash running through someone standing still. Of course the crime is covered up. Then you learn that there is a group out there that is out to pay back the supers for their heinous and wanton acts of death and destruction.
Bit by bit in the series you learn that nothing is what you thought it was. The supers origins are not as American as apple pie as everyone is led to believe. There are drugs that the supers take…and these drugs have a big role in this.
The Seven are not quite what they seem. The group that is out “spanking” the supers become darker and more twisted. Starlight, the newest member of the Seven learns not only the truth about the corporation calling the shots, but about her own origin. You see the rise of super villains whose origins are a bit predictable but still cool. You find yourself rooting for people that are into some pretty grim shit, but you cannot help it.
I loved it.
Let me say, this is a dark series. It is a story where the true heroes are blurred and often confused. There is blood, gore and sex – don’t let little kids watch this. It is gritty, edgy, and engaging. It helped fill that gap after Avengers Endgame and left me wanting more. Sure, it’s another “evil corporation” combining with “corrupt politicians” but the messages here are more on a personal level. It pushes you into areas of discomfort and does it often in the eight episodes. Karl Urban as Butcher is diabolical and by the end of the season, a sad person that you find yourself pitying. The character of Hughie goes on an amazing journey and development arc.
It’s gross and cool and twisted.
The writing for this series is off the charts. The writers never get enough praise but the guys that did this.
And, more importantly, it has been renewed for a second season.
It might not surprise you that when I am writing a true crime book, I usually have true crime going on the TV. I’m usually not watching it, but I like the background noise. My usual go-to film is to go to the blu ray of Zodiac. Having recently watched Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (perhaps the longest title for a series) I was wanting to reacquaint myself with Ted Bundy. Normally I would have dusted off my copy of A Stranger Beside Me, but I decided to look at the Netflix offering of Conversations With a Killer – The Ted Bundy Tapes. I fired it up in the background and started to write.
Then I stopped writing to watch – a rarity. I am pleased to say that this series delivers in new and eerie ways.
This four part series delves into the interviews two authors did with Bundy just prior to his execution. It is framed against the timeline of his crimes and subsequent trials. It is well-produced and at times, downright creepy. In order to get Bundy to talk about his crimes, they convince him to speak in third-person. So what you get throughout this series is his voice, almost disembodied, talking about what “someone” might have done. It was brilliant on their part and leaves us with perhaps one of the more disturbing discussions we have been privy to from a notorious serial killer. Bundy’s lack of emotion about anything other than himself does send chills down your spine.
Interlaced throughout this is a lot of footage from TV news about the cases, with the surviving investigators, witnesses and victim weighing in. It is well edited and the following of the timeline really helps a viewer stay focused and organized during viewing. I really like watching the period broadcasts…they pull you in.
I was a little surprised that Netflix has hopped onto the Ted Bundy wagon. Moreover, there are things in this documentary that contradict things in their other series, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. That is to be expected, but it does make you scratch your head a bit…almost as if the programming folks at Netflix were not talking to each other.
Conversations With a Killer is a welcome documentary, a secret pleasure for true crime aficionados and newbies to the genre.