Anything You Say: Will be held against you and analyzed on this podcast
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):
A suspect sits across the table from a detective. Tension and accusations hang in the air. It’s a familiar scene. An investigator hunting for the truth. Determined to solve the crime. Maybe even get a confession. But getting to the truth can take years of training and practice. What do these seasoned investigators know that we don’t know? What are the tactics they use to get someone talking?
Anything You Say launches September 16 and is hosted by Eric Flack, Chief Investigative Reporter at WUSA9 in Washington, DC.
Series or standalone:
Begin listening to:
True crime reporting with a focus on interrogation audio
Very good (and any recorded audio that is unclear is well-explained by the host)
Approximate length of episodes:
This may be a stretch, but if you’re teaching a criminal justice course, you could play some of these episodes to help students understand the types of questions that investigators can legally ask. If you’re teaching about civil rights or social justice, you could discuss the morality issues surrounding how investigators elicit confessions. It could also be interesting to examine these episodes in a psychology course.
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Podcast Librarian’s Review:
This is a true crime/murder pod unlike any I’ve ever heard before (quite the accomplishment, since it seems like everyone and their pet iguana has a true crime pod these days). Each episode focuses on a different suspect/perpetrator, and the actual crime is given very little emphasis; these stories are less about the grisly details of the crime and instead focus on the skilled investigators who manage to get confessions out of the perpetrators. As excerpts of the interrogation audio are played, host Erick Flack provides context and an interrogation expert provides commentary on the methods of interrogation used (almost like director’s commentary in a movie). For example, the first episode covers Christopher Watts, the murderer from Netflix’s American Murder; I listened to the episode before seeing the documentary, and I’m glad I did. The episode explores, for example, how the female investigator did such a great job of helping Christopher feel comfortable and like she believed he was innocent (until he flunked the polygraph). She even patted him on the shoulder to help comfort him--he confessed soon after. Everything investigators say and do, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is a result of their training and for the purpose of eliciting a confession. This same format—commentary over the interrogation audio, is used in each episode—all covering a different confession. Interestingly, some of the audio is from car rides with the suspect, who decides to give details outside of the interrogation room. Additionally, there are clips from local news reports interspersed for context. It’s absolutely fascinating, and I recommend it to anyone interested in true crime (sans a lot of the usual preamble and gory details) and/or psychology.
I wrote this review about a week ago and already have some more thoughts to add. The most recent episode, Final Thoughts: Interrogation Pros and Cons, is somewhat self-explanatory. If you were at all concerned from my review about the ethics of interrogation tactics, I don't blame you. As this episode explains, some tactics that are legally permitted are actually pretty sketchy. For example, police can summon you to the station by telling you that your daughter was in an accident and that she is behind the interrogation room door--but then once you're there, you realize there was no accident, your daughter is not there, and you are the one in trouble. Also, some interrogations result in false confessions because they break the person down so badly that they just want it to end. Those aren't the only minefields involved in interrogations, either. This episode is balanced in that it explains both sides of the situation, and it's a great supplemental listen to the rest of the series. Speaking of, I panicked when I saw that this was the final episode, but it seems that it is just the end of the season, not the series. I can't wait for more new episodes!