You Can’t Make This Up

You Can’t Make This Up

Join Rebecca Lavoie (Crime Writers On...) as we dig into the real stories behind Netflix Original true crime series and films– how our filmmakers got access, what ended up on the cutting room floor, and even the impact a Netflix show can have on the real lives of its subjects.

Episodes

July 22, 2021 41 min

We’re kicking off the first of a three-part special from the Netflix documentary series, Heist. This series chronicles three of the biggest heists in modern American history through in-depth interviews with the people who pulled them off.

21-year-old Heather Tallchief felt lost in life until she was swept off her feet by prison poet and paroled murderer, Roberto Solis. Hypnotized by Roberto’s dangerous allure and practice of “sex ma...

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The murder of a French woman in rural Ireland sets off a convoluted quest for justice that spans decades and cuts across national borders. This week, our host Rebecca Lavoie covers the new Netflix docu-series “Sophie: A Murder in West Cork" and speaks with Suzanne Lavery, the series’s executive producer.

This episode contains spoilers so be sure to watch all three episodes of “Sophie: A Murder in West Cork” before listening on.

I...

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June 2, 2021 40 min

Welcome to You Can't Make This Up, a companion podcast for Netflix's original true crime stories. In each episode, we take a close-up look at a true-crime narrative, documentary, or series, and our host Rebecca Lavoie talks to the people who made them. We dive deep into the backstories and get answers to questions raised by what we just watched.

This week, we’ll be discussing the documentary “Nail Bomber: Manhunt” with the f...

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May 12, 2021 43 min

This episode contains *spoilers* so make sure to watch the entire series of "The Sons of Sam" on Netflix before listening on.

When the “Son of Sam,” David Berkowitz was caught in the summer of 1977 after a string of shooting attacks in New York City, the world believed the nightmare was over, but for journalist Maury Terry, the real mystery was just beginning. Terry was convinced that Berkowitz had not acted alone. He spent ...

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May 5, 2021 40 min

This episode contains spoilers so make sure to watch all of the film "Why Did You Kill Me?" on Netflix before listening on.

After her daughter’s murder, a mother uses the social networking site MySpace to find the people she believes are responsible. She creates a fake profile that leads to unexpected intimacy with the suspects, a key break in the case, and a dark revenge plot. The documentary film "Why Did You Kill Me?&...

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April 28, 2021 36 min

On today’s show, we’re taking a break from our usual format to premiere a new original Netflix podcast: “Searching for The Sons of Sam.”

From Tenderfoot TV and true crime director Joshua Zeman comes a 5-part audio documentary about Zeman’s relationship with the late journalist Maury Terry. Terry spent 40 years of his life trying to prove that convicted Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowitz had not acted alone. Terry’s book, “The ...

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April 14, 2021 25 min

In 1990, two men dressed as cops conned their way into a Boston museum and stole a fortune in art. The stolen works are estimated to be worth over half a billion dollars today and there’s a 10 million dollar reward for whoever finds it. “This is A Robbery: The World’s Greatest Art Heist” goes deep into the leads, dead ends, lucky breaks, and speculations surrounding this notorious crime that remains unsolved over 30 years later.

Joi...

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You’ve probably heard a lot about the 2019 college admission scandal, but you haven’t heard everything. Operation Varsity Blues goes beyond the celebrity-driven headlines with real conversations from FBI wiretaps. The film offers a rare glimpse of the man at the center of the scandal,  Rick Singer, and the methods he used to help his wealthy clients cheat a system already designed to benefit the privileged.

Our host Rebecca Lavoie i...

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March 10, 2021 43 min

A note to listeners: This episode contains spoilers. So make sure to watch the entire series and then, listen on. 

In Salt Lake City in 1985, a trio of pipe bombings killed two people. The murders sent shockwaves through the Mormon Church when a trove of historically controversial Latter-Day Saints letters was found destroyed in the vehicle of the third victim, a renowned collector of rare documents. As he fights for his life, inves...

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For nearly a century, the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles has been linked to some of the city’s most notorious activity — from untimely deaths to housing serial killers. In 2013, college student Elisa Lam vanished while staying as a guest at the hotel. Her disappearance ignited a media frenzy that mobilized a global community of internet sleuths eager to solve the case.

In this episode, host Rebecca Lavoie speaks with Emmy-winni...

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January 27, 2021 42 min

It was the late 1970s. A serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper cast a dark shadow over the lives of women across England. Over a span of five years, thirteen women were dead and the police seemed incapable of catching the murderer. No one felt safe – and every man was a suspect.

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The mid-1980s was a period of terror in Southern California. A series of random home invasions, sexual assaults, and brutal murders were happening across the region. Men, women, and children of all races and walks of life were victims. Stranger yet, the horrendous methods of killings fit no particular pattern. Some victims were strangled. Some were shot. Some were beaten to death.

Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer is the d...

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January 13, 2021 28 min

In the early 1980s, the crack epidemic tore through America like a tsunami, ravaging all in its wake. And the destructive effects on people's lives, families, and communities are still deeply felt decades later. “Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy” examines the drug’s devastation, shadowy origins, and the ongoing criminalization of Black and Brown people in U.S. prison and healthcare systems.

Rebecca speaks with directo...

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Happy New Year! We are so ready to jump into 2021 but before we do, we want to take a look back at 2020. It really was a year of 'You Can’t Make This Up' moments, and the true-crime titles and conversations were no different.

Netflix filmmakers and documentarians consistently delivered original content that intrigued and surprised. They forced viewers to take a second look at crimes that we thought we knew all about from new...

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December 2, 2020 48 min

In this episode, Rebecca Lavoie (Crime Writers On...) speaks with Trial 4's director Rémy Burkel. This episode contains spoilers so make sure to watch the whole series before listening or reading on.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our guest was not recorded in a studio. We appreciate your understanding of the change in audio quality.

Trial 4 is a timely, sweeping story about criminal justice, police power, and systemic racism in A...

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November 23, 2020 46 min

 In 1989, two-year-old Christopher Dansby and 19-month old Shane Walker were abducted from the same Harlem playground within months of each other.  Police and locals were put on high alert, but no trace of the missing toddlers was ever found. Three decades later their families have not given up hope.

"Stolen Kids" is the final episode of Unsolved Mysteries, Volume 2. In this episode of You Can't Make This Up, our host Re...

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November 18, 2020 56 min

On an icy, winter night nearly 10 years ago, police found 55-year-old JoAnn Romain’s abandoned car outside her church in a Michigan suburb. They assumed she drowned in a nearby lake by suicide. But her body was recovered 70 days later in the Detroit River 35 miles away from where police allege she had entered the water. Her family suspects foul play. They have a list of suspects and will not stop until they find the truth about wha...

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November 11, 2020 49 min

Nearly ten years ago, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded devastated the northeastern coast of Japan.  It generated a tsunami that at its peak reached 131 feet high. Close to twenty-thousand lives were lost. Twenty-five hundred more remain missing. Then, in one of the worst-hit cities, people began to experience strange phenomena. Taxi drivers spoke of “ghost passengers.”  Some even talked of being possessed by lost ...

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November 4, 2020 48 min

In 1965, repeat sex-offender Lester Eubanks confessed to killing 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener and was sentenced to death. However, Lester's sentence reverted to life in prison when a 1972 Supreme Court ruling abolished the death penalty. While in prison, he joined a program allowing inmates to leave the grounds. Around a year later, while on a Christmas shopping trip to the mall, Eubanks escaped. He remains a fugitive nearly 5...

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October 28, 2020 49 min

When a woman is found dead in a luxury hotel room in Oslo, Norway, it initially appears to be a suicide until several pieces of evidence begin to suggest otherwise. She has no identification. She registered at the hotel under a false name. There was no blood on her hand or the gun that killed her. No one even reported her missing. Who is this woman? Was she murdered? Could she have been part of a secret intelligence operation? Twen...

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