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S02.E09: Episode 9

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18 hours ago, swanpride said:

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.   

In the 1970's and early 1980's there were three similar gay serial killers who "worked" in Southern California at the same time- William Bonin, Patrick Kearney, and Randy Kraft. They all targeted teenaged boys/young men (Randy tended to skew the oldest) and often dumped their bodies along the freeway.

From the previous episode thread:

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Btw, I found it somehow odd that the show cast doubt on the assertion that the killer must be a black man, because that is the one thing which is pretty obvious. In the beginning a white man who is known in the community might have managed to slip by unnoticed, but once the bodies piled up, there is no way that the alerted adults, many of whom thought that the Klan was responsible, wouldn't have paid close attention to any white man they saw in their neighbourhood.

I was really not comfortable with the show depicting all black Atlanteans being insistent that it HAD to be white person committing this. I know that this did happen, but I thought there should have been some balance here because I don't buy for a second every black person in Atlanta thought that this was some whitey conspiracy. It felt kind of racist and patronizing of the show to depict them like that.

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Yeah, I feel the show also went pretty light on the quality of the investigation. While they hinted that little was done by the local authorities, a lot of the guilt for it was shuffled on the black officials, while the white characters we saw were all portrayed as fairly reasonable. It was even the guy responsible who wanted to investigate the clan while it was Holden who stirred to focus away from the notion. It was only in the last minutes that the suggestion that photos were removed from the investigation was brought up. And a lot of the incompetency was explained away with the use of inexperience officers, when it is actually pretty likely that there were people deliberately sabotaging it because they either didn't care or didn't mind that someone was killing young blacks.

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The Atlanta Child Murders is such a terrible, frustrating case. Its pretty clear who did at least the majority of  the crimes, but no one has been able to improve it, and while he is at  least off the streets now, its so awful that those kids will never receive official justice and their families will always be left wondering. I think some of my frustrations with the season are my    frustrations with the case itself. Its just not a cut and dry happy ending or even an ending at all. Its just a bunch of sad and confusing questions. The guy playing Wayne Williams was amazing, as were the STOP women. It’s just ridiculous how long it took the authorities to really care about this, or for the media to pick it up. Sadly it’s also realistic that the murders of Pope black children are less likely to get the attention that they deserve. The black communities insistence that it’s a white guy doing the killings was sometimes frustrating, knowing what we know, but it was understandable considering what they’ve been through. 

I preferred Bills family drama to Holden's dating drama by a landslide. It was at least relevant to the show, and I found the idea of a man who routinely matches wits with the worst serial killers in the country being  befuddled by what to do with his son who is showing the tendencies of these killers to be fascinating. I do have to say that my sympathy   for Nancy kind of went down as the season continued. I feel awful for her and have no idea what she can do for Brian, but her denile and rationalizing his behaviors isn't helping anyone, and while doing this while Bill is traveling is certainly tough, he is certainly trying like hell to be there, and its not like Bill is just running off to the casino or even to make tons of money on Wallstreet or something, the guy is trying to stop a child murderer! Nancy has always been embarrassed by his job, lying about it to people and acting ashamed when   he talks about it, I think she wants a husband with a more typical suburban dad job, even if his job is important and  really is helping people. 

I missed the interviews, but I was still fascinated by the season and I am really excited to see what happens next. BTK wont be caught for years, so what will next season be about?

Edited by tennisgurl
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12 hours ago, methodwriter85 said:

I was really not comfortable with the show depicting all black Atlanteans being insistent that it HAD to be white person committing this. I know that this did happen, but I thought there should have been some balance here because I don't buy for a second every black person in Atlanta thought that this was some whitey conspiracy. It felt kind of racist and patronizing of the show to depict them like that.

It felt realistic to me given the historic grievances of the community and the very real targeting of black people by the KKK in the south. People are driven by emotion more than reason in these kinds of situations. And even the way that none of the murdered children's cases were prosecuted shows how little the white authorities cared to solve these cases officially.

I was kind of surprised that they had Bill flat out call Williams gay in the interrogation and when he denied that, say he was obviously a pedophile. I wouldn't expect men of this time to make the distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia, so even though that was realistic, it still surprised me, because I've noticed a lot of modern shows set in the past go out of their way to make their main characters extremely open-minded and non-homophobic (Stranger Things, GLOW, even the characters on Downton Abbey, which was set in the 20's, embraced the gay guy on the staff). But it is realistic that a guy like Bill would be that way (he even used the word "dyke" when reading about Wendy's interview).

The guy playing Williams was amazing though. They've cast the killers really well on this show.

I keep wondering if they're going to interview Ted Bundy. He gave interviews in prison, including to John Douglas and he wasn't executed until 1989. He has to be on the list. I bet he comes on next season.

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I know many dislike Holden, but I have the unpopular opinion of liking him. I recognize his faults but think his heart is ultimately in the right place.

I don’t know. I think it easy to be in disbelief that the vast majority of black people in the south can’t conceive that anyone other than a white person committed these crimes when you have never grown up as a black person in the Deep South, especially at that time. I personally think Williams committed most of the crimes, but I understand why most black Atlantans think it was the klan.

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2 hours ago, ruby24 said:

The guy playing Williams was amazing though. They've cast the killers really well on this show.

I thought he was amazing, too. He was clearly playing the character as being like, "So you think I'm guilty? Well, prove it. I'm not going to hang myself so you're going to have to do your job here."

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On 8/18/2019 at 10:06 PM, 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

Agreed. I commented in a previous thread how Mrs. Tench grated on me, and how the son was given nothing to do but stand and look blank. I was shocked when Tench came home to an empty house then almost laughed. Talk about cold. She didn't even leave him a set of sheets? Come on. 😁

The final scene was sooo creepy, partly because BTK reminded me so much of Russell Williams. As a Canadian, I find no one creepier than him in those photos wearing women's underwear. Add a mask, and yeesh. 

I thought the actor playing Wayne Williams did a wonderful job. If he actually did most of the murders, as fibre evidence appears to indicate, I'm not sure why the show ended on such a depressing note. Law enforcement did their job. Too bad it took so long, obviously. 

I might watch season 3, if only because I enjoy watching Holden and Tench work together. 

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3 hours ago, ruby24 said:

I keep wondering if they're going to interview Ted Bundy. He gave interviews in prison, including to John Douglas and he wasn't executed until 1989. He has to be on the list. I bet he comes on next season.

 Bundy was interviewed to get tips about the Green River Killer.  He suggested the killer was returning to the body dump sites, and he said when they find a fresh kill, they should stake out the area.  Too creepy, because you know that's just what he did, return to the bodies.  Although at the time of these interviews wasn't Bundy still denying he killed anyone?  I thought he didn't confess until his execution was imminent.   

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On 8/23/2019 at 12:36 AM, PhilMarlowe2 said:

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.

You are quite right: they presented important themes and then missed them completely. 

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On 8/21/2019 at 11:12 AM, sistermagpie said:

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. 

 That episode was inspired by the true story of Mary Bell, but the batteries part is similar to what happened in the James Bulger murder.

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Did the killings stop after Williams was arrested? That would indicate they got the right guy. Obviously I don't mean all killings, but that was a lot in an age range to be killed in short amount of time. I don't know if he killed all of them, I suppose some could've been killed by the guy giving them drugs. They reopened the case so I guess we will see if they can find more evidence. 

I do wonder if Williams had been charged with some of the child murders, would the mothers believe it or still think he was a scapegoat because they didn't believe one of their own could kill their children.

When Holden was saying that Williams thought he was the smartest person in the room and they know the type. Bill gave him a look that said yeah, he's sitting right next to me. 

As for the BTK he wasn't caught until 2005, so unless they want to jump ahead. We won't see that story. I think the point of him is, he's operating right under their noses while they are trying to find find people like him. I do think Holden has tunnel vision with regards to his idea of a serial killer. Kemper even brought up they are basing their findings on serial killers that have been caught. That's why they are going with loners that are unable to hold jobs or have relationships and don't go to Church. That's why they would never have looked at Rader, a married father that worked at ADT and was president of the church council and a cub scout leader. 

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Yes, they did. There were also no killings happening which he was under surveillance...remember, when they had another suspect the murderer made sure to demonstrate that they had the wrong guy.

There are a LOT of things which pointed to Williams back in the day, like his lie why he was on the bridge, the lack of alibi for any of the killings and the fibres and hair found on the bodies. It was still a weak case because there was no confession and they couldn't match fibres and hair as well as we do today. Plus, there were question marks about the conduct of the police.

But having looked at all the evidence, I think that he did it. Otherwise any of the later tests would have created doubt, but they never did, every time they look at the hair and the fibre it just confirms that he was the killer. I guess both could have been planted, but I also think that if they had been, the police officers responsible would have made sure to plant something more conclusive.

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On 8/18/2019 at 11:18 AM, Chaos Theory said:

It’s weird that Holden was the weak link this season.  

I found him to be the weak link for both seasons - the entire show in fact. I don't care about Holden whatsoever, but I like Wendy and Tench as well as Agent Barney. Their personal stories complemented the main action. It took me a long time to clue in to the fact that we aren't necessarily supposed to like Holden.

I thought the final episode was really well done. Once again, the actor who played the serial killer absolutely nailed it - totally looked like Wayne Williams, and captured his arrogance and manipulativeness. I think the point of this story arc was to show that even a focused investigation with Federal help can be derailed by incompetence of local police, as well as political maneuvering. This was an incredibly frustrating case - for the investigators, and for the parents of the victims, but I think Williams actually was the culprit.

Those BTK segments are going to continue for a looooong time if further seasons are picked up. We are now moving forward in time quite quickly - I wonder how they're going to handle the aging of the characters in upcoming seasons. Any guesses as to other murderers who may be interviewed or featured? Ted Bundy? The Green River Killer?

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On 8/23/2019 at 12:44 PM, tennisgurl said:

I preferred Bills family drama to Holden's dating drama by a landslide. It was at least relevant to the show, and I found the idea of a man who routinely matches wits with the worst serial killers in the country being  befuddled by what to do with his son who is showing the tendencies of these killers to be fascinating. I do have to say that my sympathy   for Nancy kind of went down as the season continued.

Yes to this! While I felt bad for Nancy, my sympathy for her grew thin as the season progressed. Her being in total denial about her kid, and her refusal to recognize that her husband was trying his best to be there as much as he could manage became frustrating. I feel the course of action she eventually chose was all about her, and not really about trying to help her kid. It may have been a contrived plot point, but I did find it interesting that Bill was having to wrestle with this in his home life. I felt very sad for him at the end of the show. Holt McCallany has a super-long resume, with all kinds of film & TV that I've seen in the past, but this is the first thing that I've noticed him in - he's perfect for the character.

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1 hour ago, Cheezwiz said:

incompetence of local police 

They weren't just incompetent, they diddn't care.

The saddest thing IMO is that, if we can trust in the series, the case could have solved with ordinary leg work: interviewing family, friends and neighbours, looking for any connection between victims, visiting places where the black kids used to be and asking for people who used to be there, too. The murderer didn't hunt for new victims by driving a car around in the middle of the night but did it in the broad daylight in public places. 

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Honestly, it is kind of beyond me why they didn't start to watch his "hunting ground" so to speak earlier. Well, not really, I know that they would have done it if the victims had been white.

I kept also kept thinking of the start of "M"...for those who don't know, that is a movie about a serial killer (made by Fritz Lang and I just realized that it was a pretty realistic portrayal of a serial killer). Anyway the movie is set in Berlin and the first five minutes is basically capturing the day of the mother of the child which will be the victim that day, and the child itself (without ever showing the murderer). One of the shot shows a bunch of mothers in fancy clothes when school ends (remember, Germany, state schools are the norm and they have all roughly the same quality, so richer children visit the school with poorer ones). Anyway, obviously the rich mothers all have the time to fetch their children from school and look out for them and, knowing that a killer makes his rounds, are doing exactly that. The mother of the victim on the other hand is fairly poor and forced to spend her day taking care of the laundry aso, unable to extend the same care to her own daughter.

It was similar with the Atlanta murders. Those where children who were obviously loved but vulnerable not just because of their skin colour but also because of their poverty. That lead to them being at places where they were particularly vulnerable.

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2 hours ago, swanpride said:

Honestly, it is kind of beyond me why they didn't start to watch his "hunting ground" so to speak earlier. Well, not really, I know that they would have done it if the victims had been white.

I kept also kept thinking of the start of "M"...for those who don't know, that is a movie about a serial killer (made by Fritz Lang and I just realized that it was a pretty realistic portrayal of a serial killer). Anyway the movie is set in Berlin and the first five minutes is basically capturing the day of the mother of the child which will be the victim that day, and the child itself (without ever showing the murderer). One of the shot shows a bunch of mothers in fancy clothes when school ends (remember, Germany, state schools are the norm and they have all roughly the same quality, so richer children visit the school with poorer ones). Anyway, obviously the rich mothers all have the time to fetch their children from school and look out for them and, knowing that a killer makes his rounds, are doing exactly that. The mother of the victim on the other hand is fairly poor and forced to spend her day taking care of the laundry aso, unable to extend the same care to her own daughter.

It was similar with the Atlanta murders. Those where children who were obviously loved but vulnerable not just because of their skin colour but also because of their poverty. That lead to them being at places where they were particularly vulnerable.

Yes, and because they were poor, they were keen to earn one or two dollars. 

Actually, the basic situation was shown already in the beginning when Holden was fetched from the airport. They almost hit the kids walking in the dark (although there was also an adult, perhaps a mother, with them).

However, countries and places are different. A Finnish journalist who had worked several years in Washington D.C. and lived with her family in a middle-class neighborhood returned home. In the summer she was visited by Ameican friends who amazed to see schoolchildren in the bus in the afternoon without parents and schools havíng no fences. They asked: "Why are children not kidnapped in the street?" 

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Yeah, it's the same over here in Germany (which is why the scene with the waiting mothers in "M" is so striking). Usually school kids go home alone, in small groups if they walk in the same direction (since there is safety in numbers), and there are rarely specific school busses outside of the most rural areas, they simply use public transport.

But they are also taught early on to not interact with strangers, which makes it hard to just pick them off the streets. Someone who would sell whatever to make a few bucks would do exactly that.  If they sell sexual favours they might even willingly get into the car.

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On 8/20/2019 at 6:04 AM, marys1000 said:

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. 

It's not just cities that struggle with the money. Ever since the OJ case and the CSI franchise later on, you have a lot of criminal defendants who will tell their public defenders to "independently test" the DNA evidence, only for the defense attorneys to basically respond "With what money?"

On 8/22/2019 at 6:18 AM, ghoulina said:

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. 

Atlanta's a big city and there are a lot of sickos out there. Some of those kids were killed because murders happen in a big city.

Other thoughts from the season:

1) When Holden returns to the cafe for the last time and one of the mothers asks him "Did you come in looking for thanks?", you tell he totally did come in for that, but read the room real fast and realized it wasn't forthcoming.

2) Hated the subplot with Tench's adopted kid. Too much of a coincidence and the child has too much of the "soulless kiddie psycho" cliche we've seen recently in Sons of Anarchy, Ozark, and others.

3) By contrast, I didn't mind Wendy's subplot. A lot of people now don't realize how frowned-upon homosexuality was in that time period. The girlfriend could easily lose unsupervised visitation rights if the ex-husband went to a family court judge and said "She's gay."

4) I thought Holden's quasi-friend who worked at the Omni was awfully abrupt with him in their last meeting, but maybe the show is commenting on the popular culture myth that the FBI has unlimited power to just do whatever they want. In reality, as we saw, their scope is limited and they've got all kinds of red tape.

5) For all of the media hype about Damon Herriman playing Manson in both this show and Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I'd guess his screen time in both projects combined was less than 15 minutes.

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So I guess we’re just going to have BTK as a kind of series long Big Bad? We’ll just keep getting glimpses of him and see updates on the investigation and his crimes, until...the show ends? Because he wasn’t actually caught until the 2000s, and that’s a pretty big freaking time jump to get from 1980 to there. 

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6 hours ago, Roseanna said:

Yes, and because they were poor, they were keen to earn one or two dollars. 

However, countries and places are different. A Finnish journalist who had worked several years in Washington D.C. and lived with her family in a middle-class neighborhood returned home. In the summer she was visited by Ameican friends who amazed to see schoolchildren in the bus in the afternoon without parents and schools havíng no fences. They asked: "Why are children not kidnapped in the street?" 

And that in itself is a relatively recent thing. Americans these days think things are much more dangerous than they were back in the 60s and 70s when kids went around unsupervised all the time, but it's the opposite. There really isn't a big chance the kids are going to get snatched off the street (it happens everywhere once in a while, but it's a lot less likely than, say, getting into a car accident) but Americans now seem conditioned to think a kid walking a block by themselves is just dangling them as bait in front of pedophiles. Not all parents think this way, of course, but I'll bet many who don't are shamed into behaving as if they do.

4 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

So I guess we’re just going to have BTK as a kind of series long Big Bad? We’ll just keep getting glimpses of him and see updates on the investigation and his crimes, until...the show ends? Because he wasn’t actually caught until the 2000s, and that’s a pretty big freaking time jump to get from 1980 to there. 

I would be fine with that, myself. It seems logical there's one guy who's just going along, being good at his job, while all this is going on. 

With the Atlanta murders I liked how you could also see that the mothers as well had their preconceptions that made them less open. Sure Holden might have stuck too close to his profile--but there actually is reason to think WW did it while there's really no real reason to think it was the Klan despite their history. The fact that the hotel concierge's face fell and she got angry as soon as she saw the suspect was black showed she was as attached to her profile as Holden was to his.

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On the other hand, they SHOULD have followed whoever made the calls. Even if it was not the killer, whoever did it made the investigation more difficult.

Also, it is kind of sad that apparently nobody really followed up all the evidence in the case of the two girls. Unlike the other cases, there were eye witnesses, there were clues, and yet nobody really bothered to follow it up enough that the case are considered solved. It seems like they could have been if the police just had done its damn job.

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In the context of the show, when were we supposed to know that the ADT guy in Park City, Kansas was BTK?  I only got it in the episode with the copier jam, when we saw the symbol.  It's obvious that the guy is preparing to do something and that he's got serious issues, but am I supposed to know that he's already killing people?

Was I supposed to know this sooner?  I hate when I miss stuff that's supposed to be obvious.

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38 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

In the context of the show, when were we supposed to know that the ADT guy in Park City, Kansas was BTK?  I only got it in the episode with the copier jam, when we saw the symbol.  It's obvious that the guy is preparing to do something and that he's got serious issues, but am I supposed to know that he's already killing people?

Was I supposed to know this sooner?  I hate when I miss stuff that's supposed to be obvious.

Last season. They had scenes with Rader/BTK at the beginning of the episodes then too. 

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4 minutes ago, Cotypubby said:

Last season. They had scenes with Rader/BTK at the beginning of the episodes then too. 

But did we know (in the context of the show) that Rader was going to be BTK? 

One hint was the nautical knot, and Holden telling the detective that the knot was significant, "Fairfield is landlocked".  And later we see the ADT guy playing with a knot.  But it wasn't until much later that Bill and Holden talk about BTK specifically. 

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2 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

But did we know (in the context of the show) that Rader was going to be BTK? 

The show never told us flat out that Rader was BTK, no, until that scene with the copier. Last season they hadn't even introduced him as a person who had committed crimes so the only way you'd identify him as BTK would be from outside knowledge which, of course, many people had, but I don't think they show was making that a requirement. You don't need to know whether or not he's killed anyone in season 1. He's just obviously doing something and given the story, you figure he's a serial killer or will be one.

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3 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

In the context of the show, when were we supposed to know that the ADT guy in Park City, Kansas was BTK?  I only got it in the episode with the copier jam, when we saw the symbol.  It's obvious that the guy is preparing to do something and that he's got serious issues, but am I supposed to know that he's already killing people?

Was I supposed to know this sooner?  I hate when I miss stuff that's supposed to be obvious.

IDK, but I knew from the very first time he showed up.

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IDK whether these BTK scenes in the first season were supposed to be earlier than the actual show's setting, which was late 70s, but BGK's first victims were in 1974. So he had already started killing people before the time frame of the first episode.

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21 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

So I guess we’re just going to have BTK as a kind of series long Big Bad? We’ll just keep getting glimpses of him and see updates on the investigation and his crimes, until...the show ends? Because he wasn’t actually caught until the 2000s, and that’s a pretty big freaking time jump to get from 1980 to there. 

John Douglas did consult with local police on BTK several times over the years; and do up a profile on him. So maybe they'll start to weave that in more with Holden? But I kind of just like the haunting glimpses of him. 

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Just finished series two -- enjoyed series one but found it just missed the mark of "really great" because the girlfriend was so badly miscast.  Series two -- really great ++.  Loved it.  The show has gained confidence which is sort of metaphysical because so has the profiling FBI team.  One subtle thing I liked -- Ted always asking Gregg to leave the room or leaving him out of conversations.  He's a rat -- and Ted treats him like one.  I enjoyed the Wendy subplot and found it intriguing because of its complexity.  

I was a teenager/twenty-something during the Atlanta Child Murders and I remember it taking forever to solve.  I remember the FBI involvement.  I remember Wayne Williams -- but I didn't remember that he was never charged with the actual Child Murders.  The country simply assumed he did it and never looked back.  (I still feel comfortable with that conclusion but I'm glad it's been reopened.)  

If this show wins any Emmys it should be for the opening credits and the cameo by Kemper.  Manson was great -- I loved the threads of sanity in the complete insanity and I liked the performer.  

I am not fond of the Brian story line because it's so drastic and seems kind of forced.  Really?  A guy who studies murder for a living has his child directly involved in a murder?  OTH, I do like seeing the FBI and the local community dealing with it. 

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It took me a long time to clue in to the fact that we aren't necessarily supposed to like Holden.

My main annoyance re Holden is that he is so rigid and rarely seems to learn anything about his own behavior.  He's in a job that requires "thinking outside the box", but rarely seems to be able to do so outside of his interviews with serial killers and not always even then.

Tench usually doesn't think outside the box, either, but he isn't being portrayed as someone who is supremely intuitive.  Of the two, I'd far rather work with him.

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These activist mothers disgust me. They are just as bad as the police they complain about. They don't actually care who killed their kids and bringing him to justice or even care about stopping more kids from being killed. All they care about is pinning the crimes on some white man. If it was a black man, then better let him go, to continue murdering, it seems.

I guess that was foreshadowed with the SM-killer talking about how all the queens want the killer to be a straight man. How they can't abide by one of their own praying on their own. But I'm still disgusted by it.

That's probably not what the show tried to say, but that's how it came across. This show did a huge disservice to the real mothers of the victims.

Btw. can somebody recap for me what that thing about the missing palaroids was about? Where did they confiscate those from, who made the ones of black kids disappear and how was that relevant to the case? Guess I didn't pay enough attention there.

On 8/19/2019 at 8:48 AM, Roseanna said:

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?

Yeah, that was weird. They made a big deeal about the panic attacks in the first two episodes, then nothing, nothing at all. It's almost like the writers forgot about it. This better come back next season.

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If I followed this correctly, one of the suspect they found when they finally asked around was some white guy who had a bunch of pictures of little boys, but they kind of excluded him from also being the murderer, because none of the boys are black and most killers stay within their own group. Towards the end it turned out that there originally WERE also pictures of black boys but they somehow vanished in the time between getting confiscated and the evidence being properly registered. I think the show wanted suggest that there is a possibility that a second murderer escaped because his white cop buddies protected him.

I wish they had focussed a little bit more on the little girls. Because their cases explains the anger of the mothers much better. Nobody really cared about finding their murderers

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25 minutes ago, Miles said:

These activist mothers disgust me. They are just as bad as the police they complain about. They don't actually care who killed their kids and bringing him to justice or even care about stopping more kids from being killed. All they care about is pinning the crimes on some white man. If it was a black man, then better let him go, to continue murdering, it seems.

I totally disagree they don't care about those things. They didn't simply want to pin it on a white man. They thought, based on their experience, that a white man was guilty. Plus, their experience with the police about these crimes was that again they were simply blamed on the community the way the same crime done against a white child wouldn't be. Probably one reason the white people at Tench's church were able to be calmed by his authority was that they had reason to trust he wasn't just blowing them off.

Note that their anger in the end also involved the fact that WW wasn't even charged with the deaths of their children. Those crimes were left unsolved, just as they predicted they would be and just as they probably wouldn't be if the victims were more sympathetic in the eyes of the press.

So psychologically it made sense to them to link these murders in with the injustice they had already experienced. Same with the other crimes. Emotions had taken over, but the emotion wasn't about making some white person suffer, there was a genuinely frustrated, if biased, desire for justice and the crimes were just a flashpoint for it.

30 minutes ago, Miles said:

Btw. can somebody recap for me what that thing about the missing palaroids was about? Where did they confiscate those from, who made the ones of black kids disappear and how was that relevant to the case? Guess I didn't pay enough attention there.

I believe it was a pedophile ring that had Polaroids of children and some of them were black. But those photos were removed to remove any potential link to the murders. They could point to the photos and say see, these pedophiles (who I believe were white) didn't prey on black children so they couldn't be linked to the murders.

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On 8/25/2019 at 3:07 PM, swanpride said:

Yeah, it's the same over here in Germany (which is why the scene with the waiting mothers in "M" is so striking). Usually school kids go home alone, in small groups if they walk in the same direction (since there is safety in numbers), and there are rarely specific school busses outside of the most rural areas, they simply use public transport.

Seems like the movie is on youtube:

 Gonna give that a look at some point.

Also kids don't walk in groudps since there is safety in numbers, but because it's jsut more interesting to walk with your friends. Source: Used to be german kid walking with friends (and quite often also alone).

4 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

I totally disagree they don't care about those things. They didn't simply want to pin it on a white man. They thought, based on their experience, that a white man was guilty. Plus, their experience with the police about these crimes was that again they were simply blamed on the community the way the same crime done against a white child wouldn't be. Probably one reason the white people at Tench's church were able to be calmed by his authority was that they had reason to trust he wasn't just blowing them off.

They just assumed it must be a white man and wouldn't budge even after the guy was caught, with ample evidence. An FBI-man who had been there from the beginning, pushed to get resources to solve the case and intracted with them a bunch of times told even told them he was sure the guy did it.

That tells me they don't care who actually did it. At least not as much as they care about their prejudices being confirmed. Yes, they want the killer to be found, as long as it's a white man. There is a german saying that describes a logical fallacy "weil nicht sein kann was nicht sein darf" (because something can't be that isn't allowed to be). It's one of the things in this universe that most grinds my gears, people closing their eyes and not wanting to believe in reality, because it doesn't conform to their world view.

17 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

Note that their anger in the end also involved the fact that WW wasn't even charged with the deaths of their children. Those crimes were left unsolved, just as they predicted they would be and just as they probably wouldn't be if the victims were more sympathetic in the eyes of the press.

They charged him for the crimes they thought they could get a conviction for and not for the others to not muddy the waters. That's standard procedure with serial killers. The guy is still in prison for life. What more do you want? Do you want him to be in superduperdoublemaxprison?

The crimes were solved, just not officially. They could have had closure if they hadn't denied reality.

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29 minutes ago, Miles said:

They just assumed it must be a white man and wouldn't budge even after the guy was caught, with ample evidence. An FBI-man who had been there from the beginning, pushed to get resources to solve the case and intracted with them a bunch of times told even told them he was sure the guy did it.

There really wasn't such ample evidence when the guy was caught, though. Yes, Holden said he thought he did it but the mothers were right that he wasn't even being arrested for the murders of their children and in fact those cases were just going to get abandoned as the mothers predicted and Holden denied. Of course we as the audience see who Holden is, that he wants to solve the case as much as they do for different reasons, but Holden was just as tunnel-visioned too. He didn't want to look at anybody who didn't fit his profile either, but that didn't mean he didn't genuinely want to solve the case. Even he wanted the cases to be investigated but it turned out the women were right. It was really TPTB who wanted to just pin it on someone and get the case of the news more than actually solve it.

I understand the logic in saying that this means they only care about confirming their biases but as with Holden, it can be both things. These people have a lot of experience of crimes against them being blamed on them even when pretty much everyone knows that's not what happened. (Or even if it is what happened, it's dismissed in ways it wouldn't be in other communities.) So their experience makes their profile feel as intuitive to them as Holden's does to him. Holden sees this crime (correctly, probably) as an anomaly, a single predator that's a unique case while the black community sees it as part of an ongoing pattern of violence.

33 minutes ago, Miles said:

They charged him for the crimes they thought they could get a conviction for and not for the others to not muddy the waters. That's standard procedure with serial killers. The guy is still in prison for life. What more do you want? Do you want him to be in superduperdoublemaxprison?

I don't think it's unusual for people to feel cheated when the person goes away for a different crime. In this case I think it was also that they wanted their children's murders to get the same respect as white children's murders would be, and at every step of the way they weren't. So this was just one more way they weren't any official acknowledgement. They were definitely bias and their bias sometimes made them wrong, but the bias was earned by the police.

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On 8/23/2019 at 6:44 PM, Melina22 said:

Agreed. I commented in a previous thread how Mrs. Tench grated on me, and how the son was given nothing to do but stand and look blank. I was shocked when Tench came home to an empty house then almost laughed. Talk about cold. She didn't even leave him a set of sheets? Come on. 😁

The final scene was sooo creepy, partly because BTK reminded me so much of Russell Williams. As a Canadian, I find no one creepier than him in those photos wearing women's underwear. Add a mask, and yeesh. 

I thought the actor playing Wayne Williams did a wonderful job. If he actually did most of the murders, as fibre evidence appears to indicate, I'm not sure why the show ended on such a depressing note. Law enforcement did their job. Too bad it took so long, obviously. 

I might watch season 3, if only because I enjoy watching Holden and Tench work together. 

Lol I said exactly that about leaving him sheets on the bed.

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8 hours ago, Yokosmom said:

Tench usually doesn't think outside the box, either, but he isn't being portrayed as someone who is supremely intuitive.  Of the two, I'd far rather work with him.

Agreed - Tench actually seems willing to revise his views when presented with new evidence. And unlike his wife, he seemed cognizant that there was something seriously wrong with their kid, but unsure of how to reach him.

6 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

I don't think it's unusual for people to feel cheated when the person goes away for a different crime. In this case I think it was also that they wanted their children's murders to get the same respect as white children's murders would be, and at every step of the way they weren't. So this was just one more way they weren't any official acknowledgement. They were definitely bias and their bias sometimes made them wrong, but the bias was earned by the police.

Agreed I think both sides  had blinders on - Holden refused to even consider investigating Klan members. In the case of the mothers, their mistrust was understandable, given the fact that no one seemed to care about their missing children until it became national news and a political football. They'd also been witness to the long history of people in their community being arrested and jailed for no reason, (and as the Police Chief  pointed out to the visiting Feds, many in the Klan were imbedded in police departments, or sitting on Judge's benches). Their anger was further justified when the cases involving their children were completely abandoned once Williams was arrested. Holden genuinely thought there would be some remaining investigators who would stay behind and continue to work the remaining cases, and they wound up getting pulled. A very frustrating and unsatisfying end for the loved ones of the victims, so I understood where their bias and anger was coming from.

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@Miles Oh, do watch it! It's one of the best German movies out there imho. I have to warn you, though, the beginning is extremely intense.

I am not sure if I am comfortable with how the show handled the mothers. I got the impression that the show shuffled the mood in the city in general on the mood of the mothers of the victims. I can't imagine that they wanted anything more than knowing the truth about what happened to their children. And I know that back in the day there were witnesses for the abduction of little Angle, so the notion that the one responsible might be black must have been something at least the mother would be aware at. I got the impression that the anger was mostly based on the feeling that the case was never FULLY cleared. The police got this guy, made him responsible for all but four of the murders, and then let it be. Never mind that there were at least three murders he most likely wasn't responsible for, never mind that there might have been others...hence the scene with the mothers talking about the victory round was so poignant. It wasn't a victory for them. But I think the show would have portrayed this better if it had toned down the hostility of the mothers a little bit. I mean, it was understandable later on, but they were basically already chewing him out when they were asking for his help.

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Interesting discussion. I agree @sistermagpie and @Cheezvitz understanding mothers, but want to add one thing.

Holden had earlier told to the hotel receptionist that the profile was a young black man and she got angry as this was the same way all criminals had been described. 

I guess the receptionist told this to the mothers (originally, she had presented to Holden). So they knew that Holden didn't even consider the possibility that the murderer was a white man.

Of course the mothers wanted the right culprit to be condemned, but they were ordinary people who had been in pain for a long time, so can't be expected them an ability to impartial.

Holden, however, was an outsider and a professional. He should not have believe blindly in the profile but see it only as an aid.

As it happened, I just read the memoirs of the chief of Helsinki homicide unit. In two cases the profile was wrong: the murderer of taxi chauffeur had no criminal record and the gun was legal, and the kidnapper of an heiress was a respected, active man with a family. By doing leg work and connecting things and having a bit of luck the police solved the cases. 

Edited by Roseanna · Reason: correcting spelling
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There was once a case of a serial in the US where everyone was looking for a "white middle-aged man". There were even witnesses who saw a "white middle-aged man" at the scene, and they also described the car he drove correctly. The police was totally on the wrong path though until DNA tests showed that the culprit was for sure a black guy. After that they were pretty successful.

The explanation for the completely off the mark witness account was that the idea that a serial killer is usually a "white, middle aged man" has been such a culturally accepted "fact" that it influenced the memories of the witnesses...similar to how robbers are often described as "having a foreign accent" even when in reality, they only have a slight dialect.

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2 hours ago, swanpride said:

I am not sure if I am comfortable with how the show handled the mothers. I got the impression that the show shuffled the mood in the city in general on the mood of the mothers of the victims. I can't imagine that they wanted anything more than knowing the truth about what happened to their children. And I know that back in the day there were witnesses for the abduction of little Angle, so the notion that the one responsible might be black must have been something at least the mother would be aware at. I got the impression that the anger was mostly based on the feeling that the case was never FULLY cleared. The police got this guy, made him responsible for all but four of the murders, and then let it be. Never mind that there were at least three murders he most likely wasn't responsible for, never mind that there might have been others...hence the scene with the mothers talking about the victory round was so poignant. It wasn't a victory for them. But I think the show would have portrayed this better if it had toned down the hostility of the mothers a little bit. I mean, it was understandable later on, but they were basically already chewing him out when they were asking for his help.

On the hand, Holden had realized that somebody inside the police had hidden evince, taking black boys' photos from photos of the pedophiles's victims.

Even if that case had no connection with the child murders, it would have showed that pedophiles could cross the race line, so maybe some murderer could do the same?

Were these pedophile cases seriously investigated or not?  

Also, why had the police been so ineffective and reluctant? Was the reason only rasiscm and indifference towards black children? Maybe some policemen had connection of some sort with pedophile rings and thus a reason to hamper the investigation?

And what about the information about fibers that was leaked to the press? It could only have got inside the police and it seriouly hindered the investigation. 

In both cases there should have investigation how the cops worked and what kind of attitudes they had.   

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Or at least more of an acknowledgement in the show that there is something off, more than just a throwaway moment. Especially since the agent on which Holden is loosely based apparently did hint that there was more to the murders than they investigated.

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I haven't commented on the series so far, I wanted to read what others thought.  I remember the Atlanta Child murders, it was The News Story during my college years.  

I work in a forensic lab and have for quite a while.  I met John Douglas in passing once when I was in a class at Quantico, but was never able to have a conversation with him.  I did, however, talk to some of the law enforcement personal that were there at Quantico learning how to profile. (One of them was on the Green River Task force which was interesting since there's been speculation that if there is another season, that may be one of the cases worked). One thing that television and movies always seem to forget is that profiling is just a tool to help the investigation, not the actual investigation.  Profiling is not infallible (and it drives me crazy when people think it is).  Case in point, the Beltway Sniper (also known as the DC Sniper despite the fact there was only one victim in DC and then, just barely).  The profile called for a caucasian male, mid-40's.  Well, the world knows how accurate that turned out.   I can't stand to watch Criminal Minds because of the fiction there.  Its kind of on the same level as the instant DNA machine on the CSI shows and speedy AFIS fingerprint searches.

The 80's were when forensics really became a recognized, legitimate field.  I worked in a forensic lab in a state that was one of the first to have a DNA library, it was all ground breaking.  We live in a post CSI era where forensic  evidence is common place.  No, back in the days of the Atlanta child murders, this was not a tried and true thing and was as distrusted as the profiling was.  Police were distrustful of it.  It was a big deal that it was how Wayne Williams was convicted the fibers being the main evidence.  The case brought recognition to the science of profiling but it didn't convict him.

The bit with Wendy upset with her girl friend because she wasn't out to her Ex-husband reminded me of the fact that this is taking place in the early 80's of Virginia.  About 20 years ago there was a Richmond court case about some grandparents winning custody of their grandchildren because the mother was in a long term relationship with another woman.  Different times.

One thing that always took me right out of the show was when they would show the FBI Academy.  It looks nothing like that. The same with the Fredericksburg neighborhood that the Tenches lived in.  That church they went to, yeah, I remember going to one that looked like that exactly in Fredericksburg.

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Wendy wasn't really upset just about this, it was more that her girlfriend constantly berated her for not being "open" enough, but then went and denied her. If they had talked about the situation earlier and honestly, she would have reacted better...though it would have been nicer to introduce her as a close friend.

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12 minutes ago, swanpride said:

Wendy wasn't really upset just about this, it was more that her girlfriend constantly berated her for not being "open" enough, but then went and denied her. If they had talked about the situation earlier and honestly, she would have reacted better...though it would have been nicer to introduce her as a close friend.

And I think it was more than just the lesbian aspect. Her entire demeanor seemed to change when talking to her ex. She became very meek and was trying to appease him. She always preached honesty and authenticity to Wendy, but ended up being a hypocrite. 

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This show is so intense, so I always enjoy it when a humorous moment happens. Like WW buying Ford and Tench some lunch and Tench saying "we've been made" while snacking on fries. 🍟

Edited by MaggieG
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This thread has shown me that I completely missed that Wendy's girlfriend wasn't out to her husband! I thought he did know that much but still thought she was working towards making a life he considered more respectable.

The story makes much more sense if she was actually lying about being a lesbian as well! 

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On 8/17/2019 at 9:11 AM, 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.

The teases work for me.  It fits in the arc of the story - in the beginning they started their little department interviewing killers who'd been caught and convicted; in this season they help capture a serial killer, proving their worth and put their new unit on the map in law enforcement circles. Meanwhile - someone who hasn't yet been caught is active and learning, and despite their growing knowledge and experience base, won't be captured for many years to come is shown as a reminder that there's a long road ahead.
 

On 8/20/2019 at 7:31 PM, sistermagpie said:

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.

"A ghost that haunts the edges" - nice turn of phrase. I really like it.

On 8/21/2019 at 11:12 AM, sistermagpie said:

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.

I can see a six year old having heard the story of the crucifixion and resurrection in Sunday School thinking that being on the cross could bring a dead child to life. We have no idea what's going on in Brian's mind of course, but that does really seem to be a reasonable reading.
 

On 8/22/2019 at 9:53 AM, swanpride said:

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.

I'm not sure I would interpret Brian's adoption in that way, despite her comment about being glad he didn't come out of her body. I think any parent faced with this would go into denial, at least at first. While I'm not particularly fond of Nancy, I would cut her some slack given the horrific quandary she finds herself in - and which she has to deal with an navigate almost entirely by herself. Even when Bill is home, he's too exhausted to have much in the way of emotional energy to help her out. Bill's doing his best - just as I think she is. I don't really think she's in that much denial - she's just not able to express and deal with it.

And while moving wouldn't solve everything by a long shot - it would take her away from the constant scrutiny and judgment from the neighbors and parishioners who used to be her friends. She's almost completely isolated - living alone most of the time with a boy who is at this point mute as well. I don't really think it was a bad idea to move, it would alleviate a small portion of her stress. I don't know that I got the sense that she meant that after they moved they wouldn't do anything to try to help Brian.

I don't blame Bill for needing to be away either, at that time most men wouldn't even acknowledge such serious family trouble, much less tell the boss and try to get time off. That he told Wendy showed amazing vulnerability and trust.  It's an exceptionally difficult situation for both of them in different ways. Bill could have listened to her, the move she suggested would have been closer to his work (if I remember right). Stability is good - but sometimes staying put is the worst thing you can do.

It's an impossible situation for both of them.

On 8/24/2019 at 6:47 PM, Sakura12 said:

When Holden was saying that Williams thought he was the smartest person in the room and they know the type. Bill gave him a look that said yeah, he's sitting right next to me.

I might have laughed at that line. And I think I saw just the slightest crack of a smile on Groff's face.

On 8/24/2019 at 11:53 PM, Cheezwiz said:

Holt McCallany has a super-long resume, with all kinds of film & TV that I've seen in the past, but this is the first thing that I've noticed him in - he's perfect for the character.

I don't know that I've ever seen him before, but I love him now.

On 8/26/2019 at 2:31 PM, Miles said:

Also kids don't walk in groudps since there is safety in numbers, but because it's jsut more interesting to walk with your friends. Source: Used to be german kid walking with friends (and quite often also alone)

They just assumed it must be a white man and wouldn't budge even after the guy was caught, with ample evidence. An FBI-man who had been there from the beginning, pushed to get resources to solve the case and intracted with them a bunch of times told even told them he was sure the guy did it.

That tells me they don't care who actually did it. At least not as much as they care about their prejudices being confirmed. Yes, they want the killer to be found, as long as it's a white man. There is a german saying that describes a logical fallacy "weil nicht sein kann was nicht sein darf" (because something can't be that isn't allowed to be). It's one of the things in this universe that most grinds my gears, people closing their eyes and not wanting to believe in reality, because it doesn't conform to their world view.

They charged him for the crimes they thought they could get a conviction for and not for the others to not muddy the waters. That's standard procedure with serial killers. The guy is still in prison for life. What more do you want? Do you want him to be in superduperdoublemaxprison?

The crimes were solved, just not officially. They could have had closure if they hadn't denied reality.

There is a lot of history between black people and the police that informs their beliefs. When it comes to them thinking it was a white man - well, there is a long history of black people being killed by whites in the south - with no justice for the families of the victims. It's natural that they would believe it was a white man, and in particular, the Klan.

There is also a long history of black men being set up and convicted of crimes they didn't commit - so their resistance to the idea is understandable. Not to mention, Holden is a white man they have no real reason to trust, and he doesn't really explain himself as to why he thinks it's a black man. His logic is not bad - he's just not sharing it.  The black agent, who he did explain this to, questioned the validity of his conclusions, because Holden's test cases were done in a community that didn't have the same kind of communities and history.

The mothers have no real reason, based on their experience with law enforcement, to trust Holden or any other member of the law enforcement community.

When I was a kid in the late 60's and early 70's I rarely walked with groups of kids, whether in America, or in Germany (where I went to Realschule in the 8th grade).  At one point - in both countries - walking alone did put me at risk of abduction. The more serious one was, oddly, in Germany, where I probably felt the safest (until then). But you know, I didn't tell my parents, because I liked the freedom I had with my bus pass. I was just a lot more careful not to find myself alone at a bus stop on a dark grey day.

17 hours ago, Cheezwiz said:

Agreed I think both sides  had blinders on - Holden refused to even consider investigating Klan members. In the case of the mothers, their mistrust was understandable, given the fact that no one seemed to care about their missing children until it became national news and a political football. They'd also been witness to the long history of people in their community being arrested and jailed for no reason, (and as the Police Chief  pointed out to the visiting Feds, many in the Klan were imbedded in police departments, or sitting on Judge's benches). Their anger was further justified when the cases involving their children were completely abandoned once Williams was arrested. Holden genuinely thought there would be some remaining investigators who would stay behind and continue to work the remaining cases, and they wound up getting pulled. A very frustrating and unsatisfying end for the loved ones of the victims, so I understood where their bias and anger was coming from.

You said it much better than I.

Edited by Clanstarling
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2 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

I can see a six year old having heard the story of the crucifixion and resurrection in Sunday School thinking that being on the cross could bring a dead child to life. We have no idea what's going on in Brian's mind of course, but that does really seem to be a reasonable reading.

Yes, the logic is solid for a kid his age. Especially if the murder was an accident and he was just faced with this boy who wouldn't wake up and then remembered the story. We just have no idea what went down--the whole thing is so bizarre with the older kids not only killing a child but then also going along with the 7 year old's suggestion of the cross. In a way that makes it seem like there was something more sinister going on that they even had the presence of mind to agree to it.

I agree that Nancy isn't in such denial she doesn't want Brian to get help. After all, she was already suggesting therapy last season before this happened. She knows he's regressed and it's also not crazy for her to wonder if all this sudden scrutiny is adding to his stress.

Still, it seems like a really bad idea to run off without Bill who, to be fair, told her he wasn't totally against moving. It's not like he was just putting his foot down and insisting they stay there. Maybe she's hoping he'll ask if he's welcome wherever she went to, because while I don't think she's completely in denial, she isn't dealing with everything head on either. She might feel like she's dealing with this alone already, but I can't imagine she won't feel the loss of Bill both as a husband and as a father. Especially since she's basically admitted that she's starting to feel negatively towards Brian himself.

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