True-crime shows underscore flaws in media frenzies


True-crime stories used to keep me awake some nights.

Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and Ann Rule’s “The Stranger Beside Me” served as gateways to an addiction that left me nervous about violent crime, not to mention the possibility that casual acquaintances might be homicidal psychopaths.

When I eventually kicked the habit and returned to novels, I was able to breathe easier.

But then true-crime television went upscale, and I was forced to pay attention.

A millionaire murder suspect became an unlikely HBO star in Andrew Jarecki’s “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst — and ended up under arrest.

The success — and quality — of the Peabody Award-winning first season of the podcast “Serial,” and of shows such as Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” and FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” inspired new long-form projects.

The best of these shows

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