You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Investigation Discovery Finds Its Hannibal Lecter

Investigation Discovery is big on serial killers, but finding new wrinkles for its true-crime programming can become a bit of a challenge. After all, TV probably has more shows devoted to these prolific criminals than have ever been documented in reality.

Enter “Dark Minds,” a cold-case show whose mild twist is at least enough to capture the imagination: It’s very own Hannibal Lecter, helping crime author M. William Phelps and criminal profiler John Kelly examine unsolved killings.

Only we never see the killer, known only as “13,” whose insights are provided via altered phone conversations so muffled that they have to use subtitles. It’s a gimmick, naturally, but shrewd strictly in terms – as so many of these programs do – of providing a theatrical reference through which viewers can process what they’re seeing. (Just to make the link explicit, ID refers to the show as “a real-life ‘Silence of the Lambs,’” only without the part where he eats his captors.)

Otherwise, the eight-part series is more of the same old, same old, opening with a look back into the Valley killer, who claimed seven female victims a couple of decades ago. Phelps dutifully looks up the one surviving victim, finds an anonymous source and talks to current law enforcement, who have to pretend they’re really interested in this long-dormant mystery.

As has become status quo with such fare, there’s also a lot of creepy music and dramatic recreations – all part of an exploitative formula that achieves what TV movies once did, only in half the time, for less money.

Think of it as TV’s equivalent of popcorn fare – or perhaps in this case, a cheesy side dish to be consumed with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

“Dark Minds” premieres Jan. 25 on Investigation Discovery. Geoff Fitzpatrick and John Luscombe are the exec producers.

More Voices

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. The record level of spending [...]

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

  • Black Women in Medicine BTS

    Hollywood Needs to Include People With Disabilities on Both Sides of the Camera (Guest Column)

    In five years, nothing has changed. Despite open calls for greater diversity and inclusion, recent research shows that there was little change in the number of characters with disabilities in popular films in 2017. A study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that [...]

  • Seven Seconds

    Fighting the Racial Bias at the Core of Hollywood’s Cop Shows (Guest Column)

    If fiction is the lie that tells a deeper truth, the TV crime genre has been, for the most part, the lie that simply tells a lie. As a storyteller (Veena) and an advocate for racial justice (Rashad), we collaborated for the past two-and-a-half years in an attempt to reimagine the roles of cops, victims, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content