28- tv- in the dark

In The Dark (CW: rape, murder, sexual assault)

In the Dark is a nine-part podcast series that digs deep into the high-profile kidnapping of an 11-year-old boy named Jacob Wetterling. While this may attract fans of similar crime-storytelling podcasts, In the Dark goes much further than just the facts of the case. It dedicates much of its nine episodes into explaining the series of critical errors in the investigation, which could have prevented the case from dragging on for more than 20 years and potentially even saved Jacob’s life.

This podcast is a compelling listen for anyone with a budding or developed interest in investigative journalism, detective work, criminology, media in society or the justice system. The simple yet compelling case is the basis for an examination of the way that both the nation and law enforcement reacts to random, terrifying disappearances of children.

While nine episodes may seem excessive for one case, the podcast manages to be consistently intriguing. The specific case serves as context for a broader discussion of topics, such as the increasingly harsh laws against sexual predators in the United States; the decreasing probability of finding a missing person as time passes; the size of the investigation; similar crimes in the area that were mishandled by the same sheriff department; and the wrongfully accused witnesses who were forced to bear the consequences of being associated with such a reviled crime.
Madeleine Barran, the journalist behind the investigation, often impressed witnesses with her startling questions. It was clear from some of the interviews that she asked more detailed questions, probed harder and conducted a more targeted, organised investigation than the police force, all the while placing scrutiny on what they did wrong.

Ultimately, while this podcast starts out feeling like an intriguing murder mystery, with catchy and suspenseful music and a unique cast, it ends on a surprisingly political note. It calls into question multiple practices currently ongoing in the justice system, a plea for a higher caliber of investigation and for swifter, more precise justice.

Image : Alan Cleaver @ Flickr

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