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kariyaki

S02.E09: Episode 9

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The investigation zeroes in on a prime suspect who proves surprisingly adept at manipulating a volatile situation to his advantage.

Airdate: August 16, 2019

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I don't know anything about this show outside of the show itself, so I don't know if it's common knowledge what the series will eventually do with all the BTK teases, but for me, watching the show, the teases are a bit of a letdown.

From the final S1 episode to the first few eps of S2, I definitely had the impression the BTK was going to be foregrounded in S2.

Weird and disappointing that, once again, the season ended with BTK tease.  I guess it's all leading to a S3 where the BTK will be the main arc? Again, don't know cuz I don't read about the show.

Overall, S2 was IMHO plodding and disappointing, with needless, trite character backstory digressions (the detective must CHOOSE BETWEEN HIS FAMILY AND HIS JOB, the lesbian agent has TO BE CLOSETED, etc.), and a general lack of dramatic tension.

Also, wtf with the dark dark dark cinematography? I have a blacked out dedicated home theatre, and, man, there was so much I just could not see...I know the subject matter is "dark," but, like...I can't see the actors, lol.

Edited by Penman61
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The first episodes were slow to me. Not bad but slow.  Around episode three or four it picked up and I was not disappointed.

I really think whoever is casting the serial killers/murderers is getting their physical look down pat. (Although they fell short with the physical appearance of Atlanta’s mayor.) 

I have very little complaints about the show.

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2 hours ago, Penman61 said:

I don't know anything about this show outside of the show itself, so I don't know if it's common knowledge what the series will eventually do with all the BTK teases, but for me, watching the show, the teases are a bit of a letdown.

From the final S1 episode to the first few eps of S2, I definitely had the impression the BTK was going to be foregrounded in S2.

Weird and disappointing that, once again, the season ended with BTK tease.  I guess it's all leading to a S3 where the BTK will be the main arc? Again, don't know cuz I don't read about the show.

It depends on what time period season 3 will be set. It could be awhile before the BTK vignettes come to fruition.

Spoiler

The BTK killer wasn't caught until 2005.

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5 hours ago, Penman61 said:

I don't know anything about this show outside of the show itself, so I don't know if it's common knowledge what the series will eventually do with all the BTK teases, but for me, watching the show, the teases are a bit of a letdown.

From the final S1 episode to the first few eps of S2, I definitely had the impression the BTK was going to be foregrounded in S2.

Weird and disappointing that, once again, the season ended with BTK tease.  I guess it's all leading to a S3 where the BTK will be the main arc? Again, don't know cuz I don't read about the show.

2 hours ago, kariyaki said:

It depends on what time period season 3 will be set. It could be awhile before the BTK vignettes come to fruition.

  Hide contents

The BTK killer wasn't caught until 2005.

Spoiler

Additionally, the book that the show was based on was published in 1995. This is still 10 years away from actually capturing BTK.

I suspect that they've chosen BTK more as a way to illustrate many of the concepts, theories, and techniques the BSU is developing. BTK is a high profile case. It did take quite some time to find him. He was interacting with the press and media. It was psycho-sexually motivated. But as one of the inmates they interviewed said (maybe Kemper), the BSU is studying the patterns of guys who got caught. I think they've illustrated that by highlighting the Atlanta Child Murders. There hasn't been a single attributed killing in almost 40 years, but there hasn't been any piece of evidence linking the 27 other cases to their prime suspect or anyone else either.

Spoiler

BTK got caught because of his unbelievable ego and sloppiness. He was essentially scot free, but his desire to kill again resurfaced and he was really sloppy.

The Alienist is probably a pretty good companion piece because it's also about the earliest version of forensic science and psychological investigation and by earliest I mean it is set in the 1890s.

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This episode dragged for me.  I get the importance of the Atlanta Child Murders to the real life agent who's the inspiration for Ford but I felt the flow was a little better last season with more a few more cases being solved while mixing with the prison interviews.

Part of that could have something to do with how frustrating the result of that case is given that Williams was never charged with the murders of any of the young kids.  I'm hoping the reopening of the case leads to some more closure.

I also thought Tench's personal story was good but went on a bit too long, especially as soon as it became obvious where it was headed.

But overall, I do like this show and hope it comes back.  I think I'd like to see more of a return to using the interviews to inspire crime solving instead of focusing on one case throughout the season and a little less on the personal stories.

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I really enjoyed this season. I don't mind having the deep dives into a particular case because that is eventually where the BSU ended up. I was actually really underwhelmed by the Charles Manson interview. That could just be because I'm tired of Charles Manson being featured in anything. I didn't mind the focus on Tench's personal life because the stuff with his son was still really interesting to me. It was much better than Holden's girlfriend woes last season. 

Put BTK stuff under the spoiler since not everyone knows that case

Spoiler

As for BTK, I love all the nods to him. I was in high school when he was caught and didn't really know all the backstory there. I grew up in Kansas City, so it was a huge freaking deal when he was got caught since Wichita is only a couple hours away. I'm pumped to see that story unfold. I think they said they have five seasons planned out, so could see BTK going up to the very end. 

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Although I enjoyed this season I was ultimately underwhelmed by the Atlanta case.  Maybe the show was trying to make a point I missed but honestly I thought it was the least interesting story of the season.   I actually really liked what the show did with Wendy and the Tench family.  Wendy getting to do interviews and being competent but not perfect at it.   And watching Bill and his family navigate when the son gets involved with a murder.     I could watch a season on both of those alone.   It’s weird that Holden was the weak link this season.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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Without giving spoilers BTK is actually a perfect case to use as an overarching plot for the show.  I watched a documentary on it recently and it is actually fascinating.

Anyway I liked Wendy’s relationship a lot more this season then Holden’s last season.    Wendy being not only a woman in a male dominated field where she is constantly being hit on because she is by all accounts single and a lesbian in a time and place where most still haven’t come out because doing so had very real job issues.  I liked watching Wendy happy in the new relationship,  using her homosexuality to gain trust with one of the killers she was interviewing but at the same time not being willing to be gay outside the safety of the apartment she shared with the girlfriend

The Tench family drama was also intriguing.  Did we know the son was adopted much less as an older child?  Who knows what happened to him in the three years before he arrived at the Tench house.  Watching Bill’s wife fall apart was interesting.  The scene where she told Bill she was glad he didn’t come from her body was sad.  But it is interesting she ultimately left with him and didn’t leave him with Bill.  

Bill and Wendy’s friendship was also fascinating to watch.  I really liked watching them reluctantly go to these big FBI parties and mostly just hang out with each other until forced to do otherwise. 

For me Holden was the weak link of the season.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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1 hour ago, atlantaloves said:

I live in Atlanta and was an adult when all the killings took place, and let me tell you, they had solid fiber evidence on him for 23 of those murders.  He probably did them all. 

I was hoping to hear from someone from Atlanta concerning the killings. Honestly, I have only heard about the real case in the last five years. I particularly wonder if people from there think Williams is really guilty.

I am glad this case was showcased.

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I live in the Atlanta area now, but was a small girl when these happened though I lived in GA, not the ATL area. I had to stop listening to the Atlanta Monster podcast. Payne kept playing him with too much sympathy. There was solid evidence against WW.

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Oh yeah, I had a buddy in the GBI (Ga. Bureau of Investigation) who worked with the fiber people, who gave me inside scoop every now and then, and I trusted her completely.  She could not believe what they had on him just from fiber evidence. (fiber evidence was totally new in this case as I recall). They got the right guy believe me.  

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I like seeing them interview more serial killers. I like those episodes this season. They do cast some actors that really hit the mark on those guys. I do think, though, they made that POS Manson seem smarter and more sane than he really was. I did love how Tench handled him. 

I got a chuckle out of them saying things about BTK, like 'he can't be married with kids or no way is he a church going type' when in fact he was those things. LOL. 

The Atlanta story was too long/slow. I wanted to see more back at their office with the other agents. But I saw an interview (that ID channel show where the guy interviews the killers in jail) with Williams and he was just as portrayed with the huge ego and steadily denying any guilt (with smug smile). Maybe it was the Solidad interview. Such a smug difficult guy but he loves the attention.

I also wasn't super fond of Tench's son's story. Too contrived. I could see the dissolution of the marriage a mile away. That part wasn't bad. But the story of the murdered toddler and Tench's son's role. I don't know....he is studying people like his own son. 

Overall a great season. Love the show and can't wait until next season.

Edited by Lamima
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I agree with many here that the season 1 was more interesting as it was something new. However, I think that it would be a mistake only to repeat it.

Actually, the season 2 presented important things. First, Holden is too fond of the profile, too quick to make conclusions and unable to look for other alternatives.

Second, the role of the community. The mothers were right to demand the police to do their job, but they were (quite naturally) too unable and unwilling to accept the possibility that the murderer wasn't "the other". The policemen were, besides prejudiced, also lazy in their work (the failings in the first phase of investigation can be fatal). The media revealed things that helped the murderer and prevented the police to do their job. The mayor thought too much of the reputation of the city and his own status. And the FBI thought mostly how they could get more fame and resources because of new methods.

In short, this was no story of lone heroes who do their job in a vacuum.

Third, the private lifes. The story of Tench's son is an integral part of the basic questions: what makes a person do horrible things? is it because they are born bad or because bad things are done to them as a child? is there any hope that the son can be healed? 

Also, just like in Atlanta, the crime influenced on several peole's lifes. Tench's wife is wrong in believing that it's best simply ignore all and believe that the boy forgets. Her moving out is undestandable as Tench had indeed worked too much and left the son's upbringing to her, but now it is Tench who can help the son, not her.

Also Wendy's story told more about her. She has indeed chosen to research compulsive behavior because of personal reasons. And people must have more than great sex to succed as a couple.

Actually, it was the lack of Holden's story that was a failure. He identified with the sexual murderers so much that first he imitated them when having sex with his girlfried and his relationship with broke down and then, after he was embraced by one of the murderers, he himself broke down in the end of the season 1.

And now, after a few days in the hospital and medicine he is OK? Not convincing. Or, does the medicine influence on him so that he is less intuitive and narrowly concentrated on the profile?

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I have always been an inverate tv watcher but lately I have had trouble finding shows/movies that hold my interest.  

Mindhunter did that, binged, which I am also sad about.  

I think season 1 was more dramatic and season 2 was a little repetitive.  But it still held my interest.  

Humans really do suck and I'm not talking just about the killer.  So many children killed and the politics that kept it on the down low, the incompetence of the APD, the interservice bickering, the egos that have to be stroked.  Never ends, so stupid.  

All those neighbors and kids that hadn't ever been talked to, could that be real?  Geezus!

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18 hours ago, Chaos Theory said:

The Tench family drama was also intriguing.  Did we know the son was adopted much less as an older child?

It was definitely revealed that he was adopted last season. I cannot remember if they said how old he was when it happened, but I was already concerned about reactive attachment disorder; so, somehow, I was under the impression they didn't take him as a newborn. 

16 hours ago, Atlanta said:

I live in the Atlanta area now, but was a small girl when these happened though I lived in GA, not the ATL area. I had to stop listening to the Atlanta Monster podcast. Payne kept playing him with too much sympathy. There was solid evidence against WW.

I had never really heard about this case until they mentioned it on My Favorite Murder. I then went to listen to Atlanta Monster. I spent the entire podcast being pretty unsure. At the very end I landed on Williams being guilty; but I was surprised when I started reading more about it afterwards. There was a lot more convincing evidence. I tend to think Payne was just trying to be "fair", but it didn't really come off that way. 

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1 hour ago, marys1000 said:

Humans really do suck and I'm not talking just about the killer.  So many children killed and the politics that kept it on the down low, the incompetence of the APD, the interservice bickering, the egos that have to be stroked.  Never ends, so stupid.  

All those neighbors and kids that hadn't ever been talked to, could that be real?  Geezus!

I just said the same thing on AV Club. I was appalled.  No one canvassed neighborhoods?? Talked to kids who knew the victims?  The racism was nauseating. 

I did feel bad for Holden, like the mothers and Tanya were scapegoating him, when he truly was their ally. I know they were frustrated beyond belief, but he knew what he was talking about. But after you've seen young black men hauled into jail for nothing, I can see why they doubted APD and the FBI motives. 

We better not have to wait 2 years for Season 3.  I hate that I binged this and now it's over, but I couldn't stop watching.  

I knew Nancy would leave Bill.   He should have told Holden much sooner than he did.  Holden wouldn't have given him shit if he knew what he was going thru. And tell him, look you have 2 people baby sitting you, so be a little more judicious with your attitude. 

Even tho he is right more often than not.  That Atlanta DA was an idiot.  Did they really not understand forensics back in the 80s? 

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8 hours ago, Roseanna said:

nd now, after a few days in the hospital and medicine he is OK? Not convincing. Or, does the medicine influence on him so that he is less intuitive and narrowly concentrated on the profile?

My sister was hospitalized for panic attacks a year ago. She swore she was having a heart attack. After they confirmed she wasn't and got her history, she was released. It's not a life threatening situation, as long as the patient understands what was happening and knows to take their meds when they feel one coming on.  It's just your body reacting to stress, some people are prone to them, others aren't.  My sister had panic attacks when she felt claustrophobic, she wasn't in a dangerous situation at all, or even upset, it seemed like she was having a nervous breakdown, as soon as we removed her from the area where she felt closed in, she was fine.  

I didn't think Holden was imitating the serial killers, his girlfriend was just into some kinky stuff. He was pretty straight laced.  I think the show is illustrating how everyone has issues in relationships.  Wendy is not ready for a relationship, she's too closed off from being able to relate to others. She holds grudges way too much. 

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20 hours ago, Lamima said:

I also wasn't super fond of Tench's son's story. Too contrived. I could see the dissolution of the marriage a mile away. That part wasn't bad. But the story of the murdered toddler and Tench's son's role. I don't know....he is studying people like his own son. 

I also thought this subplot was overly contrived. I felt like they were hitting me over the head with a frying pan. SEE, THIS KID MIGHT GROW UP TO BE A SERIAL KILLER! It didn't help that the kid's demeanor was like Damien from The Omen.

I liked how the season ended, with Holden getting a reality check on the BSU's limitations. Manson was a great interview, the actor nailed him. Be sure to watch the Tex Watson interview with the closed captioning on, because there are some very creepy sounds added in.

Once again, the actor who plays Kemper is just incredible.

Edited by IndianPaintbrush
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Okay sorry but did anyone else notice how much the show was implying that the Safety Commissioner was the killer?

I'm baked and just binged both seasons  but here's my case

In the first couple of episodes in Atlanta when Holden first meets the safety commissioner for the kidnapping, Holden comes in and tells SC exactly the profile that the FBI is looking for and how the SC at the end of the meeting says "that it was quite .... instructive". Later in the day at the Kidnapping  ransom call, SC came and comforted the victims. As he was leaving he dismissed the FBI instantly followed  by the method of how the children being killed changed via now dumping them in rivers.

Even when they have their prime suspect they only get him for the 2 adults then follows the closure of the case BY the safety commissioner the second time. It seems like he was set up as a fall guy or after pressure to close the case certain things were overlooked or ignore to make him the fall guy.

Also the SC was always revisiting the scenes of the crimes where he would comfort victims he was quite a celebrity in his community. There was also the scene at Mayors meeting where parents became outraged before the SC pushed the mayor aside to comfort the crowd.

This last part is just speculation but since not all the bodies were recovered he could have some of the boys as captives and now that they have a fall guy for all the murders. Idk just baked speculation but it doesnt really fit since not all the boys were S/A.

There ya go 

Edited by Steinbock · Reason: Forgot a part
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45 minutes ago, Steinbock said:

Okay sorry but did anyone else notice how much the show was implying that the Safety Commissioner was the killer?

I'm baked and just binged both seasons  but here's my case

In the first couple of episodes in Atlanta when Holden first meets the safety commissioner for the kidnapping, Holden comes in and tells SC exactly the profile that the FBI is looking for and how the SC at the end of the meeting says "that it was quite .... instructive". Later in the day at the Kidnapping  ransom call, SC came and comforted the victims. As he was leaving he dismissed the FBI instantly followed  by the method of how the children being killed changed via now dumping them in rivers.

Even when they have their prime suspect they only get him for the 2 adults then follows the closure of the case BY the safety commissioner the second time. It seems like he was set up as a fall guy or after pressure to close the case certain things were overlooked or ignore to make him the fall guy.

Also the SC was always revisiting the scenes of the crimes where he would comfort victims he was quite a celebrity in his community. There was also the scene at Mayors meeting where parents became outraged before the SC pushed the mayor aside to comfort the crowd.

This last part is just speculation but since not all the bodies were recovered he could have some of the boys as captives and now that they have a fall guy for all the murders. Idk just baked speculation but it doesnt really fit since not all the boys were S/A.

There ya go 

Although there are fictionalized parts or parts loosely based on real characters and events, the crimes and surrounding scenarios are pretty exact to what actually happened. I've been looking some of this stuff up. Are you thinking this happened IRL?

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On 8/18/2019 at 2:33 PM, Chaos Theory said:

The Tench family drama was also intriguing.  Did we know the son was adopted much less as an older child?  Who knows what happened to him in the three years before he arrived at the Tench house.  

Nancy mentioned in the first season that they adopted him when he was three. She also said they knew what his life/care had been for the year previous to the adoption but had no idea what had happened to him in his first two years. This was all in a conversation with Bill I believe, brought on by her concern about Brian (?) not talking or interacting with them.

I figured he must have been severely neglected as an infant which caused what I was viewing as reactive attachment disorder. I guessed they’d go this route with his story but I’m disappointed that they did so. I think it was telegraphed almost from the first time we meet the kid and thus wasn’t a shocker or even surprise at all. Instead it just sort of seems precious. Like here we’ve been hearing all these serial killers talk about how they got where they did, so let’s give one of the detectives a kid who’s a textbook example. I truly hope they drop the whole storyline in next season just as they did Holden’s girlfriend in this one.

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10 minutes ago, Pop Tart said:

I truly hope they drop the whole storyline in next season just as they did Holden’s girlfriend in this one.

They also pretty much dropped the idea that Holden is himself a sociopath, which I was really disappointed by. I thought that was a really interesting aspect of the show.

I did the imploding marriage was pretty much telegraphed because it was really obvious that Tench's wife was going to leave him by the point where she talks about how they need to leave.

I don't know how I feel about the conclusion here, although that might be why they picked a case that seems to have an unsettling amount of questions.

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9 hours ago, IndianPaintbrush said:

I also thought this subplot was overly contrived. I felt like they were hitting me over the head with a frying pan. SEE, THIS KID MIGHT GROW UP TO BE A SERIAL KILLER! It didn't help that the kid's demeanor was like Damien from The Omen.

I interpreted it in a different way. I think the boy could be helped. I presume that he doesn't speak because he is convinced that if he did, and told the truth, he would be abandoned by his adopted parents.  

The crux of the matter was when Tench listened a judge to tell how he had sentenced youngsters whom he regarded monsters because to him they were "others". But because of his son, Tench knew it wasn't true.

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6 hours ago, methodwriter85 said:

They also pretty much dropped the idea that Holden is himself a sociopath, which I was really disappointed by. I thought that was a really interesting aspect of the show.

I did the imploding marriage was pretty much telegraphed because it was really obvious that Tench's wife was going to leave him by the point where she talks about how they need to leave.

I don't know how I feel about the conclusion here, although that might be why they picked a case that seems to have an unsettling amount of questions.

Honestly I hope they do the opposite.  That just because children have difficult childhoods and early signs of psychopathy it doesn’t mean they are destined to be serial killers.   They could use the Tench family to go the other way.  That with early detection and therapy that some of these children can in fact be saved.   He wasn’t the one who actually killed the baby.   He is on the edge right now. So yeah it is a lot more interesting then a girlfriend who had no real point.

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22 hours ago, teddysmom said:

Even tho he is right more often than not.  That Atlanta DA was an idiot.  Did they really not understand forensics back in the 80s? 

I think not actually.  Or if "someone" did, the FBI etc. it wasn't that widespread.  We see the Alienist, Sherlock Holmes and all sorts of other period dramas with these super smart guys who know all this stuff.....but I don't think it was true.  Or if there was a guy here or there, the knowledge didn't spread very far.   We had a few computers in the 80s but no internet.  

DNA  wasn't "invented" for crime use till the early 80s so certainly didn't get used much till later. 
Heck I'll bet that most middle size cities still struggle with getting really good crime scene support.  Most just don't have the money.  

I thought the Tench son's storyline was interesting just from the standpoint that serial killers have parents.  And sometimes those parents aren't bad.  That whole making them "other" and "monsters" is why they go unnoticed.  BTK lived a pretty good double life.  
He also "only" killed 10 people in 17 years, caught till like 10 years after the last killing, totally disabusing that Criminal Minds trope of serial killers needing to kill more and more frequently and closer together.  He wounld never have been caught if he hadn't started sending letters to the police again after a 10 year break. 

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From real life:

In 1981, John Douglas, the real-life FBI profiler fictionalized in Mindhunter, wrote a profile on Williams for Fulton County prosecutors in which he said, “The Atlanta child killings commenced when stress in the life of Wayne Williams became unbearable. While fairly bright and articulate, Williams found himself falling to one failure after another… The Atlanta serial murder case was his first success.”

Douglas had other harsh words for Williams, too, once reportedly saying, “[Williams is] looking pretty good for a good percentage of the murders,” which prompted the FBI to censure Douglas. The profiler later changed his tune, however.

In his 1995 book Mindhunter, he wrote, “Despite what his detractors and accusers maintain, I believe there is no strong evidence linking him to all or even most of the deaths and disappearances of children in that city between 1979 and 1981. Young black and white children continue to die mysteriously in Atlanta.”

I enjoyed the season and binged it in two nights. It even kept my husband awake lol. I would have liked more prison interviews though.

I don't know that much about the case against Williams, but from what I do know there didn't seem to be a lot of evidence that he was responsible for any or all of the child murders. It's not a stretch to think that the Atlanta PD just wanted someone to pin everything on  and get it over with. The families of these children never got any answers or justice. He wasn't even tried for any but 2 murders, and they were older men. Sad.

Edited by Lady of nod

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I too am reading Douglas's Mindhunter book. He seems contradictory to me about his thoughts on how many of the murders he thinks WW did from place to place.

The book was from 1995. Things have gotten more sophisticated. On WW's wikipedia page, they list other, subsequent determinations done on the fiber and hair evidence and it sounds convincing enough for me that he did a number of them. At the end they say, "On March 21, 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields announced that officials would re-test evidence from the murders, which will be gathered by the Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation." So it sounds like it's not over and the most advanced techniques will be used to look at this again. 

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I'm not sure what to think about Williams based on what was presented.  Pretty weak evidence.  I kept waiting to see them find and reveal something more convincing, it never came

Nevertheless this seems to be the case that sort of made a name for the unit and justified their techniques. 

Brian just struck me as autistic at a time when that diagnosis just wasn't entertained much.  But I agree with the mom, would be better for them to move and get a fresh start. 

If you are waiting for story advancement for the BTK killer, it will be awhile.  Was not arrested for another 25 years after this story took place. 

The lack of investigation into the murders of those kids by local police was frightening.  All these kids knew each other, so it wouldn't seem hard to track down what was happening. 

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2 hours ago, DrSpaceman said:

The lack of investigation into the murders of those kids by local police was frightening.  All these kids knew each other, so it wouldn't seem hard to track down what was happening. 

That makes the earlier references to the Houston Massacre murders of the early 1970's pretty pointed. Those kids all knew each other- Elmer was taking a driver's ed course with one of them and there were even at least two sets of brothers. But the bulk of the kids who went missing were from the working class neighborhood of Houston Heights so they didn't care until they were forced to confront a boatshed with dozens of adolescent boys buried beneath. Those fucking cowards didn't even finish looking for bodies despite Elmer insisting there were more bodies to be found (which turned out to be correct) and it's highly believed that the total is much higher than 28.

I don't think Wayne Williams is innocent but I do think that the Atlanta p.d. just wanted to close this as early as possible.

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https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a28758819/who-committed-the-atlanta-child-murders-reopened/

The Unsolved Atlanta Child Murders Have Been Re-Opened 40 Years Later

This point to me seems significant: 

Quote

 The child killings stopped when Williams went to jail for life. 

(I still don't feel like I know enough about the case to have an opinion.)

Edited by kieyra
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On 8/17/2019 at 12:11 PM, Penman61 said:

I don't know anything about this show outside of the show itself, so I don't know if it's common knowledge what the series will eventually do with all the BTK teases, but for me, watching the show, the teases are a bit of a letdown.

From the final S1 episode to the first few eps of S2, I definitely had the impression the BTK was going to be foregrounded in S2.

I really like what they're doing with BTK. But I think even if you don't know more details about the real BTK case the show's telling us they're not really ready for him yet. Not just because of things they say that are exactly wrong if you know the truth, but also what Kemper said about them studying people who have been caught. Given how little we see him it seems clear he's not a major storyline, he's more like a ghost that haunts the edges.

One thing I really like about the show, though, is how it's not the usual super-smart serial killer vs. the FBI team.

On 8/18/2019 at 1:27 PM, AmandaPanda said:

I really enjoyed this season. I don't mind having the deep dives into a particular case because that is eventually where the BSU ended up. I was actually really underwhelmed by the Charles Manson interview. That could just be because I'm tired of Charles Manson being featured in anything.

I thought the show did a good job with him because it was all this build-up but the guy himself was just kind of tedious. That's the way he always seemed to me. For the people who responded to him he was really powerful but to everyone else he was a tedious weirdo. I liked their thoughts on how he might have done the murders because he felt like he had to put up or shut up.

On 8/18/2019 at 3:33 PM, Chaos Theory said:

The Tench family drama was also intriguing.  Did we know the son was adopted much less as an older child?  Who knows what happened to him in the three years before he arrived at the Tench house.  Watching Bill’s wife fall apart was interesting.  The scene where she told Bill she was glad he didn’t come from her body was sad.  But it is interesting she ultimately left with him and didn’t leave him with Bill.  

Bill and Wendy’s friendship was also fascinating to watch.  I really liked watching them reluctantly go to these big FBI parties and mostly just hang out with each other until forced to do otherwise.

I loved Bill and Wendy together too.

I hope the story with the son goes somewhere interesting. I didn't like it on principle because it just seems so contrived--what a coincidence that Bill and his wife happened to adopt a kid who seems like a future serial killer!

But it could be interesting because it seems like while Wendy might think a fresh start was what she needed and running away where people don't know what happened will make everything better, how could it? She seems to be desperately making up her own thought processes and projecting them on the kid while being terrified of him underneath. What's she going to do if it turns out even kids and parents who don't know the murder story just find the kid's affect creepy? Seems like she might want Bill's pov there after all. If he does have an issue in this area he needs people addressing it.

I mean, we don't now if the kid's actually go problems with empathy but does seem to have a pretty consistent fascination with death, even back when he was stealing pictures of crime scenes. Maybe he was being sweet by wanting to put the kid on the cross, maybe he was just experimenting. Who knows?

I listened to the Atlanta Monster podcast a while back but I remember it not really getting into it.

Edited by sistermagpie
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2 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

--what a coincidence that Bill and his wife happened to adopt a kid who seems like a future serial killer!

I think that this interpretation brushs aside that it wasn't Brian who killed but two kids who were born and raised in a normal (if there are such) middle-class home. In Manson's case it was said aloud that it was far easier to believe that he brainwashed those young people than that he only "liberated" them to do what they originally wanted to do.  

About Tench's behavior one can see how times are changed. Nowadays many fathers wouldn't hesitate to ask for leave of absence in order to be their children who are in trouble. However important their jobs might be, they aren't invaluable, unlike to their children. 

About the cross: it was interpreted that Brian put the body on the cross because he hoped that the toddler would come to live. But people who are raised with Bible stories have a tendency to forget that crusificiation was originally a painful and shameful penalty.  

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12 hours ago, Roseanna said:

I think that this interpretation brushs aside that it wasn't Brian who killed but two kids who were born and raised in a normal (if there are such) middle-class home.

Right, but the dark hints are about Brian since we don't know anything about the other kids--even going back to S1 when the babysitter didn't want to work for them any more after she found Brian with a crime scene photo. At the time it seemed like it was just the photo that freaked her out, making it a hazard of Bill's job, but given the themes of the show it's easy to think Brian was attracted to the scene of violence. 

If the killer kids were like the Manson family, after all, that makes Brian Manson, who it was suggested found people who had this in them and then encouraged them to be who they were--iow, he was still a force for violence, just a  manipulative one. (And he was very small, like Brian compared to the older kids.) 

And of course, even if the idea is simply that these other "normal" kids were the murderers, it's still a whopping coincidence that Bill's son was present when it happened.

12 hours ago, Roseanna said:

About the cross: it was interpreted that Brian put the body on the cross because he hoped that the toddler would come to live. But people who are raised with Bible stories have a tendency to forget that crusificiation was originally a painful and shameful penalty.  

Right, there's really multiple ways to interpret the symbolism and we're not privvy to what Brian's thoughts actually were. Both his and the victim's mother choose one that makes Brian the most innocent and compassionate and they could be right, but we have no idea.

There was a L&O ep with a little girl who was a killer and manipulated and older, mentally challenged child to help her kill a child. In her case they put batteries in the kid's mouth because the girl wanted to know if the batteries would revive him. I couldn't help but think of that with the interpretations of Brian's actions.

Oh, one other thing I thought was a big anachronism was Tench's wife saying she was trying to arrange "playdates." I don't know when that term came into widespread use but I never heard it in my childhood and the show is in the early 80s at this point. It seems very connected to the type of parenting where the parents arrange a kid's social life rather than kids just deciding they want to play together and ask their parents if they could. Which seems to be more in line with the way Brian's being raised, given how he's running around unsupervised with older kids and able to let them into an empty house to do it.

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I found it odd that Nancy, Bill, and Brian seem to be living in this vacuum of a neighborhood.  Wouldn't some other families be confrontational?  Blaming Nancy and Bill for raising a monster?  Or the opposite reaction - bringing them casseroles, suggesting they seek Jesus?  You know, all the reactions that would happen when their child is involved in the death of another child.   Especially for Nancy, since Bill got to escape to the office or to a prison visit or to Atlanta, but  Nancy was the one going out and about in the neighborhood on a daily basis.  I also thought it was strange that Nancy did not ask Brian's therapist or the social worker what they thought about a fresh start for all of them in a new city and new school. 

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1 hour ago, Calvada said:

I found it odd that Nancy, Bill, and Brian seem to be living in this vacuum of a neighborhood.  Wouldn't some other families be confrontational?  Blaming Nancy and Bill for raising a monster?  Or the opposite reaction - bringing them casseroles, suggesting they seek Jesus?  You know, all the reactions that would happen when their child is involved in the death of another child.   Especially for Nancy, since Bill got to escape to the office or to a prison visit or to Atlanta, but  Nancy was the one going out and about in the neighborhood on a daily basis.  I also thought it was strange that Nancy did not ask Brian's therapist or the social worker what they thought about a fresh start for all of them in a new city and new school. 

I wonder if the idea was that we saw them with friends in the beginning of the season like at the barbecue, and then the fact that they were always alone later implied that people were just keeping away from them. Which maybe made sense because Brian wasn't one of the killers and was very young, so maybe people felt wrong about accusing him of murder, but they also didn't want to be around him because they figured he was super damaged. So Nancy and Bill weren't getting confrontational rejection, but the passive kind.

But yeah, you'd think the therapist would be the obvious person to talk about moving with. Of course, since Brian's not talking he might have thought it wouldn't have a big effect on him one way or the other. That question really might have just been more about both parents seeing what they wanted as best for the kid. Though it's interesting that it seems like we see Bill having personal interactions with Brian more than Nancy. We just seem to see him interacting with him more like an individual than we do with her.

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I was looking at the Atlanta case because I always match up what is seen on TV with what happened in reality in order to not get a too distorted view on history. And I have gotten the impression that not all the victims were killed by the same guy. I mean, that confused me about the show, they said "this guy killed because of some drug related thing, and here we have this one who doesn't match the others" and I was just thinking "yeah, okay, but isn't it possible that one or two of the murders were done for other reasons/by another attacker, but there was also a serial killer which did most of them?" I mean, all those bodies which were found pretty much at the same places or as some sort of answer to the police, they are most likely connected, but I would sort out every victim which did not vanish from the street, which was not a boy and which was killed in an usual ways, and consider that they were killed by someone else and for some other reason. They point out again and again that the only thing the victims had in common was the sociological environment, but once you consider the possibility that there was one main killer and a few killings which just happened around the same time or happened in reaction to the murder spree, and you can actually narrow it down a little bit more.

I also wouldn't exclude the possibility that some of them WERE Klan murders committed because it was a "good opportunity" so to speak.

What seems obvious to me is that the police initially did some really shoddy work, because they didn't care as much as they would have if the victims had been white. Also obvious to me is that the families of the victims, due to the dismissive way their cases were handled, don't trusted the police and were therefore more than ready to believe the Williams was innocent (regarding the killings of the boys, that is). Thing is, each time they reopened the case in order to look at evidence with new methods, it always results in him looking even more guilty. So it is highly likely that he WAS the original serial killer (but not the only one). But why should he admit that? Child murderers don't exactly have an easy time in prison, do they?  He is most likely better off pretending that he is "just" a murderer of two adults who got framed by a racist police.

Regarding Brian, I think he needed therapy from day one, to deal whatever happened before he got adopted (which might have been simply neglect, but he seems to have a problems with male adults in general), but since it is the 1970s, Bill sees it as a stigma, especially since he sees people like Kemper for whom therapy didn't work.

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On ‎8‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 1:16 AM, Roseanna said:

I think that this interpretation brushs aside that it wasn't Brian who killed but two kids who were born and raised in a normal (if there are such) middle-class home. In Manson's case it was said aloud that it was far easier to believe that he brainwashed those young people than that he only "liberated" them to do what they originally wanted to do.  

About Tench's behavior one can see how times are changed. Nowadays many fathers wouldn't hesitate to ask for leave of absence in order to be their children who are in trouble. However important their jobs might be, they aren't invaluable, unlike to their children. 

About the cross: it was interpreted that Brian put the body on the cross because he hoped that the toddler would come to live. But people who are raised with Bible stories have a tendency to forget that crusificiation was originally a painful and shameful penalty.  

Yes and we don't really know where that idea came from about why he put the boy on the cross, if that is true about him being placed there to try and bring him back to life, or just what his mom is saying, if he actually told her that, etc.  We never here it from him. 

And in regard to Wayne Williams guilt/innocence, if the murders truly did stop after he was arrested, seems pretty good circumstantial evidence of his guilt with some of them. 

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Well, there were still killings after he was arrested (remember, one of the highest crime rate in the country), but I guess none of those looked like they were the work of the serial killer. And naturally the ones who think it was the Klan would say that the Klan stopped because they were pleased that a black man got accused.

Today though there is new evidence which links him to the killing of Patrick Balthasar. There was a hair samples found in the shirt of the boy, which both match the dog (as much as you can tell this with dog hair) and to 98% Wayne Williams. I mean, how likely is this? In this case the family of the victim actually does think that Wayne Williams was the killer. The reason why he was never convicted were apparently some legal issues. 

The show seems to suggest that there were other killers too, including known paedophiles. So in this case the "solution" isn't really satisfying, because a huge chunk of those killings aren't solved.   

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Yea, I don't really know of anyone who thinks 100% of those killings were done by Wayne. IMO, he was a serial killer; but, sadly, there could have been other, unrelated child murders happening at the time. 

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But it could be interesting because it seems like while Wendy might think a fresh start was what she needed and running away where people don't know what happened will make everything better, how could it? She seems to be desperately making up her own thought processes and projecting them on the kid while being terrified of him underneath. 

I was just annoyed by Wendy.  They should have been getting their son therapy all along, and definitely after the death of the little boy.  She resented all of the steps that social services were taking, when in reality, she should have been cooperating as much as possible. She's in such denial.  Moving away for a fresh start won't help Brian but it will help her, at least, get out from under the gaze of the community.  I'd like to think that she'd get him therapy wherever they moved, but somehow doubt it. The scene (can't remember the episode), where he fixated on the little girl in the playground was exceptionally chilling.

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I think part of the issue is that Nancy never wanted Brian for himself, she wanted him to fill an emptiness in her life. And when the "beautiful boy" didn't quite work as she expected, she went straight into denial. Not that she is heartless or anything like this, but I feel that it's not necessarily Brian's wellbeing which is first in her mind. If that's where the case she would have told the mother of the victim that she first wants to think about her request and then asked the experts if that would be a good idea or not. Instead she sent her away because she didn't want to deal with it. It is her who wants to push everything away, not necessarily Brian.

Though I hope that the show won't be so coarse to turn Brian into a serial killer.

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On 8/20/2019 at 9:31 PM, sistermagpie said:

I listened to the Atlanta Monster podcast a while back but I remember it not really getting into it.

That might be because Payne Lindsey is annoying as hell, IMO.

Edited by Irlandesa
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23 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

Oh, one other thing I thought was a big anachronism was Tench's wife saying she was trying to arrange "playdates." I don't know when that term came into widespread use but I never heard it in my childhood and the show is in the early 80s at this point. It seems very connected to the type of parenting where the parents arrange a kid's social life rather than kids just deciding they want to play together and ask their parents if they could. Which seems to be more in line with the way Brian's being raised, given how he's running around unsupervised with older kids and able to let them into an empty house to do it.

I noticed a few times throughout the series where they said phrases commonly used today that were not used in the 70's/80's.  

I lived in Japan on a Naval Base from '79-'82 (I was 11 in '79) and remember the Atlanta Child Murders being shown on our news station.  I still think Wayne Williams is guilty because like some have mentioned above, the killings stopped after his arrest along with the evidence from the fibers, dog hair and the flyers to lure children of a specific age group was just very telling.  His story as to why he was on the bridge at 3:00 am......his calmness around the police seemed to be very serial killer-ish.  Very cunning strategies for him to be an innocent man.  

Kudos to the casting department for this series!  I honestly felt like I was watching Ed Kemper himself along with Manson and David Burkowitz and I am sure they did a great job with the other killers which other then Tex I was not familiar with. 

The series also did a fantastic job with the late 70's/early 80's decor, overall theme, music etc.  So many things I saw all the time growing up.

 I can see why some folks felt the story line with Brian was contrived, I thought it was a good opportunity to show how it swayed his fathers perception while interviewing or talking about the cases after it hit a little too close to home.  Tench is my favorite of the series.  I was really sad about Nancy leaving him.  It just wasn't the norm for a father to take a leave of absence back then.  I also thought her just up and leaving would be a bad move as far as the case worker and psychologist went. 

I enjoyed this whole series and thought all the actors brought their A game.  The only bad thing is having to wait so long for a season 3!

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Just finished this.

I'm more or less okay with dedicating so much time to the Atlanta story because it seems like a natural progression for the team - the FBI being brought into a high-profile case and using their methods for the biggest mystery yet. I definitely missed the dramatic thrust of season 1 - consistent interviews with serial killers that then played out in various unsolved cases - but I'm okay with taking on one big mystery for the second season.

That said, it felt like there were so many loose ends that made this season feel altogether muddy for me -

1) Season 1 built to this big emotional climax that questioned Holden's methods - he became outright hostile and self-destructive (walking out of the Internal Affairs interrogation), misguidedly marched into this personal exchange with Kemper at the hospital and then had an honest-to-God panic attack. Then Season 2 started to introduce the idea that his emotional instability might make him a liability in interviews - and I thought we were building to this tension where they need Holden because of his finesse with the killers but where he presents an increasing liability due to his emotional instability. But then this went nowhere. I guess Holden took some Valium and everything is okay? His character seemed to recede into the thematic background.

2) Similarly, the entire FBI group dynamic hit a standstill. You had the initial tension where the square, Christian, tattletale assistant was on the outs from the rest of the group; you had the new smarmy FBI director who seemed like he was going to pit the team members against themselves; you had Wendy who seemed like she was going to find her own footing as a powerful interviewer - and who also seemed like she was feeling outside of the group; you had Bill and Wendy not trusting Holden; and, again, all of this went nowhere.

3) I'm one of those people who felt the Bill/Brian storyline was simply too on the nose. Of course one of the agents' sons is now showing possible signs of sociopathy. I thought the minutia of Bill's tightrope schedule was well done, but the whole thing felt contrived to me. And, again, the adversarial case worker ("Make no mistake, she's not our friend") went nowhere. And Nancy is a hugely annoying character - hysterical, reactive.

4) Wendy's romantic storyline felt like a retread of Holden's dating woes from last season. I keep getting the distinct impression that they are setting Wendy up as a functional alcoholic, but maybe I am reading into it?

5) If we're going to go into their personal lives, I would so much rather it be subtler and more intimate. For example, I think it would be very interesting to see the Christian agent trying to square the more complex view of humanity he is cultivating with his previous beliefs. Or to go deeper into Wendy's repression (and inability to ask for what she wants).

I still really enjoy the show but found this season a bit more tedious.

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The thing with Nancy is that she had a lot of hang ups even before the whole thing with Brian happened. She was basically ashamed of the job her husband had, always reacting angry when someone showed interest in what he does. It's not like Bill went around bragging to everyone, he was just reacting to other people's question.

And in defence of Bill: He tried. Yes, he travelled a lot. But he also did what he could to be there for Nancy, and to be around every single weekend even though that put even more strain on him.

This in combination makes it hard to be sympathetic towards Nancy, especially since we see very little of the shunning she must have experienced.

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