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Discovery ID

The Good, the Bad, and the Awful

I can't help it. I'm addicted to true crime, but I have been for many years before the current craze set in. I taught forensics for over 20 years. Forensics was my bread and butter because I love it, so it kinda spilled over into my everyday life. When I watch Investigation Discovery I am a ruthless critic.

Tamron Hall is by far the best of the interviewers on the station. Not only does she ask good questions, but she has these little reactions to the stories being told. She presents very well exuding intelligence, empathy, and quick thinking. Paula Zahn, on the other hand, irks me no end. She doesn't handle open questions. Zahn continually states the obvious when she asks, "how upsetting was it to see the child's body?" The answer, "very." This goes on throughout an entire interview. While Aphrodite Jones is a bit over-exuberant, I prefer that to Zahn's emptiness. Candace DeLong is the biggest waste of talent on the network. Deadly Women, really? The show is despicably simplistic and uses DeLong to jab with caustic comments on criminal behavior a five-year-old can see through. Put her back on a show that uses her intelligence and training. M. Willian Phelps, who is this guy? A popular but not so talented hack. His series, Dark Minds, was beyond wretched. He interviews a serial killer on the phone to get tips about murders. The guy never offers anything remotely concrete or usable. 

While we are on I.D.'s men let's discuss the three best storytellers bar none. Joe Kenda could make a trip to Walmart sound wild and crazy. He can be so homey one minute and be biting the next. He's got face, too. Those blue eyes dart at you like he's sitting on the sofa with you. Now, Garry McFadden is cool in a different way. Of course, his clothes are a bit much sometimes, but that is the man. I love the way he talks: "one ringy dingy," but I also admire his caring nature. The thought of being in the Box with him is more than a little disconcerting. He can tell a story as well as Joe Kenda can, but very different. Then there is the quiet man, Rod Demery. He disarms you with his sad eyes and sweeps you softly through a case. His tragic life did not strip him of his ability to empathize with victim and sometimes perpetrator at the same time. You have to digest Rod, and let his words hum in your head. As far as individual shows, I.D. did a great job with Village of the Damned, but Vanishing Women was appalling. Too many family non-moments. It slogged along for way too long. Cecil Hotel, was surprisingly good. I didn't think I'd like it, but I did. My all-time favorite is See No Evil, where CCTV is the star and only witness. There is something so tragic about seeing someone only moments before death. It is unnerving to watch. The worst show has to be Graham Hetrick's show, The Coroner. I fall into a comatose sleep as soon as he starts droning on. He is in the right job, so why is he on television?

Titles? There is something so wrong with titles like Wives with Knives or BrideKilla. Seven shows feature the word "deadly" and nine use "evil." How about a thesaurus guys? Then you have Ice Cold Killers, which encompasses crimes in cold climates, but if the temperature goes below 40 degrees, it counts. Home Alone—not really. The first episode had a woman alone, the others had more people than I had at my last dinner party. 

Don't get me wrong, this channel is the best there is for crime TV, but you have slog through the muck and mire to get what's worth viewing. Oh, I long for the good old days of Forensic Files, where crime was serious science and not fluff.