Archive for Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jones takes crack at Zodiac killer

April 8, 2010

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Some murders are more memorable than others. Thousands of killings take place each year. And not all of them are on CBS. But some become legendary and inspire an entire cottage industry of investigators, authors and conspiracy theorists.

“True Crime with Aphrodite Jones” (9 p.m., Investigation Discovery) turns its focus on the Zodiac Killer, the notorious perpetrator of a series of murders in the San Francisco Bay area that have gone unsolved for four decades.

Jones, a true-crime author and host, latches on to the Zodiac legend with a certain tabloid relish. The production takes its lurid time presenting tight close-ups of each slain woman’s photograph and then reeling off the sound of 10 gunshots as the camera jerks ever closer. Even four decades after the gruesome events, this feels like a grievous lapse in taste.

Jones interviews veteran crime reporters who admit to a certain jaded take on the Zodiac affair. They’ve become practiced in rolling their eyes at the mention of each new theory. The case has also inspired countless finger-pointers and malicious gossips ready to turn in neighbors or teachers as possible suspects.

And apparently the bloody Zodiac crimes have even broken up some families. Jones meets one woman who says her father was the killer and that she even rode along in the car as he conducted his nefarious deeds.

Another man has dedicated decades of his life trying to prove that his stepfather was the Zodiac killer and claims he even confessed to the crimes before he died. But rather than take the man’s word, or videotapes, at face value, Jones calls in a handwriting expert to compare his script to the notorious letters that the Zodiac sent when he was taunting the police and press during his decade-long spree.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Bones and Brennan reminisce about their first encounter on “Bones” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Mark and Vogel go mole hunting on “FlashForward” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Select PBS stations will air “Naturally Obsessed: The Making of a Scientist” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings). Other stations will air it throughout April. Check local listings.

• Michael’s generous offer proves hollow on “The Office” (8 p.m., NBC).

• Langston makes a key discovery on “CSI” (8 p.m., CBS).

• Liz can’t avoid her mystery man (Michael Sheen) on “30 Rock” (8:30 p.m., NBC).

• Amnesia rears its ugly head on “The Mentalist” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Tracy Morgan, Kathy Griffin and Nathan Lane dispense relationship advice on “The Marriage Ref” (9 p.m., NBC).

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