Over the summer Investigation Discovery simulcast their first scripted miniseries on “Manhunt: Unabomber”, a Discovery Channel production with stellar performances by Sam Worthington, Paul Bettany, and Chris Noth viewers and critics agreed. Now with their first original scripted outing and production “Dating Game Killer” Investigation Discovery has once again delivered content that matches HBO, Netflix, and Hulu original programming and set the standard for delivering high quality true crime in multiple formats successfully.
The responsibility that comes with bringing a true story to television is a big one and can be somewhat of a gamble. Often times the person(s) involved with the real events are still alive and have been in the news media. There was clearly a lot of time, discussion, and development about how to execute and deliver the story and it shows in the finished product right from the start.
Rodney Alcala is one of the most dangerous and prolific serial killers in US history. In telling the tale of his reign of terror, it would have been easy to over sensationalize the violent aspects and focus on cheap thrills. Instead ID Discovery and Executive Producers Leslie Greif, Darrell Fetty, Peter Medak, Adam Freeman, and Angela Bromstad tell the story from three unique points of view Rodney Alcala (Guillermo Diaz, “Scandal”), his mother Anna Alcala (Alma Martinez “The Bridge”, “Good Behavior”) and the mother of one of his victims Carol Jensen (Carrie Preston “The Good Fight”, “The Good Wife”, “True Blood”). All three points of view are woven together by two detectives Det. Jim Hamill (Robert Knepper, “Prison Break”) and his partner Greg Ryan (Matt Barr, “Hatfields & McCoys”). This format allows for an intense, well-paced, thriller, to unfold and it is powerful.
Guillermo Diaz completely captures the essence, lack of emotion, sociopathic tendencies, and bizarre behavior of notorious serial killer Rodney Alcala. Carrie Preston is gut-wrenching as mother desperate to justice for her daughter.
Guillermo Diaz and Carrie Preston deliver career best performances. Their court room scenes are so good, as a viewer you want to hit rewind and watch them again. Carrie Preston should win the Emmy next September for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries. Guillermo should be recognized at Emmy time as well.