Gotta watch out for those soda slurping middle aged moms, 3.5 readers.
Usually I wait until the end of a season before I opine on a series, but this is a true crime drama based on real, well publicized events that I’ve already looked up and self spoilered for myself, so I’m not worried about spoilers. If you are, you might want to look away.
The show is about the actual case where midwestern mom Pam Hupp stabbed her cancer stricken BFF Betsy Faria some 50 odd times with a knife, then framed Betsy’s husband Russ so she could collect the insurance money.
The third episode, which aired this week, gave us a look at the horribly conducted trial and IMO, is enraging because it gives a clear view into the horrors of confirmation bias, i.e. once the powers that be decide something is X, they put on blinders and refuse to consider any and all evidence that it might be Y.
In this case, Russ Faria has a room full of fellow dungeons and dragons nerds who all testify they were pretending to be elves and orcs with Russ until 9. A late night stop at Arby’s provides a time stamped receipt indicating that Russ would have to have driven like Mario Andretti on steroids to have returned home and stabbed his wife all in time for the 911 call.
Other evidence against Russ’ involvement abounds, while evidence against Pam emerges. I mean, holy crap, Betsy switched her insurance beneficiary from Russ to Pam, ostensibly because she trusted Pam would give the money to her daughters upon her death…but no one in law enforcement thinks to look more into this.
The DA’s office, the police, they all agree – Russ fits the profile. He kinda looks like a mean guy, he and his wife argued a lot (because no other couple ever argued before) and so obviously he must have done it. Big city attorney Joel Schwartz is astounded as he comes down to the close knit community where all the police and DA lawyers know each other, went to school with each other, have each others’ backs and form a wall against any and all common sense i.e. why will no one even consider Pam as a suspect?
Meanwhile, Pam plays the role of sweet, middle aged and caring Betsy friend well.
We haven’t gotten there yet, but my understanding is Russ does go to jail for a crime he didn’t commit while Pam gets emboldened by her first murder that she got away with that she kills again, first her elderly mother for more insurance money and then some random guy who she tried to pose as a hitman in a sad attempt to try to frame Russ again.
Rene Zellwigger is heavily made up to look like a frumpy old lady, yet another role where someone beautiful plays someone ugly. Oh well. That’s hollywood for you.
The show goes by quick and has some typical network TV formulaic stuff. But ultimately, it really is scary how so called professionals in the legal system can get so convinced of x’s guilt that they refuse to look at y evidence staring directly at them.