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Friday, June 01, 2018

More From the Duplass Brothers: "Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist"

A few weeks ago, I posted about the Duplass Brothers and a documentary series they produced called Wild Wild Country. It seems to have gone somewhat mainstream, at least if this not-so-funny SNL sketch is an indication. After you've seen Wild Wild Country, you might find this article interesting: 9 Rajneeshpuram Residents on What Wild Wild Country Got Wrong.

I recently watched another Duplass Brothers Netflix documentary: Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist. The series concerns the so-called "pizza bomber" case from 2003. A man handed a bank teller a note demanding money while he had a bomb strapped to him. When the police caught and surrounded him, he claimed that he was just delivering pizza when some people involuntarily locked the bomb around his neck and ordered him to rob the bank. They told him the bomb could only be removed by a key that would be revealed if he robbed the bank and then solved a scavenger hunt under extraordinarily tight time pressure. The documentary has many twists and turns but a central question is whether the pizza deliveryman was, in some way, part of the plot or just an innocent victim.

As with Wild Wild Country, Evil Genius offers food for thought for legal scholars. Not surprisingly, the issues are more exclusively directed toward criminal law, including defense strategy and mental illness.  It makes for pretty gripping television, but it felt a little repetitive at times and probably could have been squeezed into fewer than four parts. And while it's not so radically differently than other "true crime" stories you'll find on network television, it's well above average and you'll be glad that there are no commercials to deal with.

Posted by Adam Kolber on June 1, 2018 at 12:49 PM | Permalink


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