Three years ago I’d come downstairs from my office and see my wife watching Dateline, and we’d laugh: how’s this week’s murderous husband story? Let me guess, he was a charmer whose easy smile hid a dangerous past? I’d shake my head - how many of those can you watch, really.
Now they’re in podcast form and I’m angry when they don’t put up one EVERY DAY. They work quite well as podcasts. When I look up the cases on the internet the faces never surprise me - the missing wives are always beaming in photos that look a little overexposed, the guys have suspicious facial hair in the BEFORE pictures, and look mean and thick in the courtroom pictures.
Here’s the thing: after however many years of Dateline, no husband or boyfriend should think he can get away with murder. Or perhaps after all these years the Murder-American community thinks they’ve learned what not to do. Okay, well, they noticed he had searched for “ropes” and “time it takes to die from strangulation” on the internet, better clean my browser history. Ah, they got that guy because his cellphone pinged a tower; better get a burner. Ah, that got that woman because they had Dollar Store security camera tape of her conspirator buying the burner phone; dang. Didn’t think about that.
They never think that everything will loop back to them for the simple fact that they did it.
But then you wonder: sometimes the husband or boyfriend didn’t do it. What would you do if you came home, found the house broken into, a few drawers rifled, and your spouse was dead from blows administered by a bushy-haired stranger? How would you remove yourself from suspicion?
It would be easy, no? Because you didn’t do it. Well. I listened to a “Criminal” podcast about a guy who didn’t do it, but still did a stretch because he had red hair and a gold car, and the vic (that’s what those of us in the know call the victim!) who survived ID’d him. Now, you’re saying, James, you don’t have red hair and a gold car, and you’d be right. But how many ordinary things do you do that might look suspicious?
“I noticed a red car -“
“Let the record show the defendant has a red car.”
“Right, I saw a red car leave the house, and then circle the block and slow down as it passed the house, and then it sped off.”
(Cue suspicious Dateline host voice.) “And why did he do that?”
BECAUSE I AM PARANOID ABOUT THE GARAGE DOOR. Sometimes it goes all the way down and you drive off before it bounces back up because it detected the presence of the extension cord used to start the snowblower.
(Cue suspicious Dateline host voice.) “Ah yes. The extension cord. Green, six feet long. The same type of cord used to strangle the victim.
(Footage of me buying the extension cord two years ago)
But after I left I went to Home Depot, stopping off first at McDonalds. What sort of lunatic strangles his wife then eats a hamburger?
The sort of person who is capable of strangling his wife, perhaps? Isn’t that just what a cold-hearted narcissist would do?
I didn’t strangle her then go to Home Depot! If anything she would’ve strangled me if I didn’t go to Home Depot, because I’d been saying I would do something about the toilet for weeks and here it was, Saturday, and it wasn’t fixed again -“
“So you were having problems, then.”
“But you didn’t buy a toilet repair kit.”
“No, because I needed a top-mounted flush kit, and they didn’t have one.”
“Isn’t that the sort of thing you might have checked out online before you left?”
“What are you, my wife? No - sorry, I didn’t mean that.”
One other thing: everyone murdered by their husband or boyfriend is always the sunniest, happiest, most helpful person in the world. Just once I’d like someone to say “she didn’t deserve that, it goes without saying, but Toni was the dullest, most uninteresting, ordinary person I’d met. When she came into a room it was like someone had cracked a window in a house downwind from a paper mill. I mean, it was a smell you were used to, but still didn’t look forward to experiencing again.”
Well, that’s a good start:
I’m sure at some point he’ll "take over," too. They always take over.
Let's use the crawl to catch up.
Well, it was the first ep; there’s no way he would be doomed even to uncertain death.
Oh okay then
Nice little escape maneuver here that shows Columbia was pretty good at this serial racket:
We got back to the Black Tiger’s hideout, where he does the invisible thing. The Black Tiger tells his minions to go to Lamont Cranston’s place and eff - him - up so he doesn’t interfere with the plans anymore. This is where the super genius criminals screw up, every time - they get obsessed with the guy who just posed a modern impediment.
I should note that all the minions are wearing masks, and the Black Tiger suspects that one of them is disloyal. Everyone must take off their mask! Surprise, one of them is Cranston, and he punches everyone and leaves.
Okay. Look. Everyone who’s a fan of the Shadow, and watching this serial with excitement because the Shadow is awesome, must be thinking: WHY THE HELL DOESN’T HE CLOUD MEN’S MINDS? HE’S INVISIBLE NO ONE CARES THAT HE DISGUISES HIMSELF AS LIN CHANG
The minions go to mess up Lamont and Margo and we get some high-quality annoying screaming from the latter:
By the way, we go to the home of a Wealthy Industrialist, who is haranguing his manservant: who’s been using my dictaphone? I’m laying down a marker right here: the manservant is the Black Tiger.
Of course, that’s what they want us to think. The industrialist boots up the dictaphone, and the cylinder has a message from . . . THE BLACK TIGER! OH NO! He says too bad you turned down my offer to buy four of your companies; tomorrow one of them will be worthless.
Lamont’s guy on the police department says it’s going to be the telephone company, so that’s where Cranston goes. First the Tiger attacks TV, then the telephone - the Tiger’s taking tech that starts with T! Lay your bets for telegraph-line sabotage next ep.
Anyway, as before, the Shadow is on site just in time to not stop the bad guys. And so:
There you have it. Another week; will there be surprises, or just high-quality iterations of the same old stuff, or brand new disappointments? Stay tuned!