By Andy Chandler
Crime documentaries are something I have an unending passion for.
There are, in my opinion, few greater pleasures than sitting down with a great documentary about heists, conspiracy theories or murders. I’ve watch ones about everything from the JFK assassination to the ‘Zodiac Killer’ and even dived as far back as ‘Jack The Ripper’ to get my documentary fix.
A lot of them aren’t perfect, ‘Making A Murderer’ for example is overtly long-winded and feels dragged out to 13 hour long episodes. Yes it’s a really intriguing tale of police collusion and the framing of an innocent subject, so I thoroughly recommend it, but it’s a bit of a trek to get through and it can be hard to keep focused when 13 hours worth of information is being poured into your brain. I felt it was a two-dayer simply because of all the information that gets thrown at you.
So yes, I love my true crime documentaries but I need them to be quicker, slicker and snappier affairs. Preferably as short as possible.
It’s with that in mind that I watched one of Netflix’s latest true crime series ‘Evil Genius’. It focuses on the ‘Pizza Bomber’ or the murder of Brian Wells.
The director of ‘Evil Genius’, Trey Borzillieri, was so intrigued by this case that he dedicated years of his life to getting the true story of what happened. It’s a labour of love and it shows. So, what the premise I hear you cry. well: Back in 2003 in Erie, Pensylvania, Brian Wells was a Pizza delivery man. On the afternoon of August 28, 2003, Wells received a call to deliver two pizzas to an address a few miles out of town. The next we see of Brian Wells he’s walking into a bank with a bomb strapped around his neck and a shotgun disguised as a walking stick demanding money from the bank tellers.
The bomb goes off and kills Brian, so the police go about investigating exactly what happned on that fateful afternoon. It seems that Brian was given a list of instructions he needed to follow in order for the bomb collar to be removed, a list that police tried to replicate afterwards in the time given but found it impossible.
From there you’re thrown head first into a plot of intrigue, double-crossing and horrendous money-driven people who’ll stop at nothing to achieve their terrible goals as the body count starts to rise. One name keeps coming up again, that of Majorie Diehl-Armstrong. The investigation focuses on her and that’s when the plot really begins to thicken.
Now, I’m not going to spoil any more of this show for you, oh no, all I can advise is that if you like documentaries that take you into the mind of a murderer, this is exactly for you. It’s also only 4 hour-ish episodes long so the whole series rockets by and can easily be binge watched in an evening if you fancy.
Netflix are doing some great crime documentaries at the moment, The Staircase is another series I can wholeheartedly recommend too if it’s this type of thing you’re looking for, but that’s another story for another day.