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Podcast / In The Dark

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In the Dark is an APMReports production. It follows Madeline Baran, an investigative reporter, as she looks into police investigations of active cases. She interviews witnesses, families, and law enforcement. The twist is that In the Dark investigates how law enforcement screwed up the investigations.

Season One (9 episodes) is about the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling by Danny Heinrich. Baran currently lives in Minnesota, and has known of Wetterling's abduction and disappearance for twelve years.

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Season 2 (11 episodes) is about Curtis Flowers, a (possibly innocent) man who has been tried and convicted for the murder of four people in a furniture store six times.

In the Dark provides examples of:

  • All First-Person Narrators Write Like Novelists: Madeleine only sounds like this when she is describing a scene during the scripted portions of the show. Otherwise, she speaks like a regular journalist.
  • Close-Knit Community: St. Joseph, Minnesota.
  • Deep South: Winona, Mississippi.
  • Destroy the Evidence: Throughout season 2 it's heavily implied that the Winona DA's Office either destroyed or deliberately withheld evidence that would exonerate Curtis.
  • Driving Question:
    • Season 1: Why did it take law enforcement 27 years to solve the abduction of Jacob Wetterling?
    • Season 2: Why is the Winona DA's office hell bent on executing Curtis Flowers for the murders at Tardy Furniture, even though he has won multiple appeals through the Mississippi Supreme Court?
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: Many aspects of the fallout from the Jacob Wetterling case are this, including the passage of the Jacob Wetterling Act, which created the first state sex offender registry. Patty Wetterling now opposes the registry, since she thinks it has gone too far.
  • Narrator: Madeleine provides this throughout the episodes, connecting together interviews.
  • Opening Narration:
    Season 1: This is In the Dark, an investigative podcast from APMReports. In this series, we're looking at what went wrong in the case of Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year-old who was kidnapped in central Minnesota in 1989.
    Season 2: This is season two of In the Dark, an investigative podcast by APMReports. I'm Madeleine Baran. This season is about the case of Curtis Flowers, a black man from a small town in Mississippi who has spent the last 21 years fighting for his life, and a white prosecutor who's spent that same time trying just as hard to execute him.
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  • Plethora of Mistakes: Madeleine goes through mistakes made by law enforcement in excruciating detail throughout season one, leading up to the reveal that Jacob's case could have been solved three months after he was kidnapped.
  • Tear Jerker: Oh, so many:
    • The Wetterling family waited 27 years to find out what happened to their son, with an undying hope that he was still alive. Jacob was murdered by Danny Heinrich the night he was abducted.
    • Curtis Flowers's mother, Lola, died from kidney failure in July of 2018. She will never know the ultimate fate of her son.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: This was supposed to be the premise of Season One, however, Danny Heinrich confessed to abducting and murdering Jacob in August 2016, forcing producers to scramble to change the first episode to include this, as well as forcing them to release the first episode a week earlier than planned.

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