Investigation Discovery specializes in cheeky titles -- see the upcoming "Wives With Knives," or the Susan Lucci-hosted "Deadly Affairs" -- but occasionally tries to aim a little higher than its customary fare, which specializes in distilling what used to become fodder for Lifetime movies into episodic programs.
Enter "My Brother the Serial Killer," a movie-length documentary about serial killer Glen Rogers, told primarily from the perspective of his brother, Clay, but also Rogers' sister. ID will air the project on Nov. 21.
The persistent fascination with serial killers is certainly fair game -- particularly for a network with a true-crime profile -- and airing right before Thanksgiving, the movie should make a lot of us at least feel better about the most irritating person/biggest loser at any of our family gatherings.
Still, the production overreaches, seemingly, by spending a considerable amount of time flimsily trying to link Rogers' murder spree to the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman killings, which prompted the high-profile trial (and eventual acquittal) of O.J. Simpson.
Whatever Clay and an investigator associated with the Simpson case might believe, there's really not much here to make a convincing argument regarding Rogers' involvement. The result thus feels not only like dredging up the Simpson trial to boost the titillation factor but -- in the implications Rogers had a relationship with Brown Simpson -- creates the queasy sense the documentary is slandering the dead, potentially, strictly to goose its appeal.
The sad part is these excesses are unnecessary, since there's enough compelling stuff here for crime buffs -- including local news footage of Rogers' capture and the inevitable questions about how that little boy in those family photos grew up to become a monster -- without resorting to such an approach.
As is, "My Brother the Serial Killer" just winds up feeling trashy. On the plus side, like those who over-indulge on Thanksgiving, viewers who do tune in will have a nice long weekend to shed their exercise in gluttony.
Produced by Essential Media. Executive producer, John Terp.