TV Highlights

Dark Minds

ID - 10pm

Who's in it?

A crime-solving partnership between a writer, a criminal profiler and an imprisoned murderer known only as Raven? Sounds like a trashy new US drama. Nope: it's a trashy new US documentary instead.

In a nutshell

The Original Night Stalker. As well as having one of the oddest nicknames of all serial killers (it makes him sound like some kind of branded product), he was one of America's worst ever maniacs. Lying in wait outside people's homes, then invading to rape and kill, he was never caught. And that makes him fodder for cheesy true crime docs like this one. We say "cheesy" – what we actually mean is "unbelievably tacky and ridiculous and insulting to all victims of killers everywhere".

And that's not just because of the host's breathless, titillated voice over. It's because it actually brings in a real-life serial killer to provide "insights". He even comes complete with a scary sounding alias, "Raven". Like an actual supervillain. This sort of thing you can forgive in films in Silence of the Lambs, but it was queasy seeing a man who really, actually murdered women being mythologised right before our eyes as some kind of dark, mysterious genius. Especially when his special insights include such piercing gems as killers "strike fear into their victirms" and feel "great" after committing crimes. Thanks for that.

What's the verdict?

"Raven follows me in my sleep," the host breathlessly intoned at one point. To which we might reply: stop speaking to him for the sake of TV ratings, then. But we doubt he'd listen.

2/5

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07-07-2011