TV Review: Spike TV hides an absorbing true-crime mystery behind familiar trappings

One of the things that’s so appealing about true crime is that the narrative attraction comes ready-made, no heavy lifting required. Something dramatic has already occurred, and it happened right here in the real world. There’s a victim, an aggressor, the vicarious adrenaline rush of the salacious details, and the knowledge that, unlike fictional crime, nothing is too random, bizarre, or outlandish—everything is pre-justified in advance by the knowledge that it all really happened.

Director Joe Berlinger presumably knows all this by heart. The director of the landmark Paradise Lost trilogy of films about the West Memphis Three, as well as numerous other documentaries (Whitey: United States Of America V. James J. Bulger, Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster) and TV docuseries, has an uncanny knack for both cracking open sprawling, messy true-life narratives, as well as finding surprises and complications in stories that appear open-and-shut on first …

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