The Dating Game Killer

The official blurb: Hollywood & Crime’s new six-part series The Dating Game Killer uncovers the twisted secret life of one of America’s most prolific serial killers. When Rodney Alcala appeared as a contestant on the popular TV show, The Dating Game, he was a diagnosed sociopath and convicted child molester. He held jobs as a typesetter at a prominent newspaper and a counselor at an idyllic summer camp. How did this predatory monster fool producers, employers, prison psychiatrists, and parole boards alike – all while committing heinous crimes from coast to coast? From: https://wondery.com/shows/the-dating-game-killer/

Usually, I like to steer away from true crime podcasts.

It wasn’t always that way. I was as captivated by The Teachers’ Pet as thousands of other fans, and likewise with Dirty John (a Wondery production, as is The Dating Game Killer).

But I always felt a sense of guilt – and I know this would have been discussed by a lot of other listeners. I was being entertained by terrible crimes that destroyed other people’s lives, and these podcasts left me feeling dark and no doubt more anxious. So I stopped, and instead opted for light-hearted panel podcasts, writing podcasts and political podcasts.

Yet I’m back in the true crime world, having just finished listening to The Dating Game Killer.

Image from: https://wondery.com/shows/the-dating-game-killer/

I blame it on the times. I just knew this podcast would be a massive distraction from what’s happening in the COVID-19 world. And I was right.

If you do like true crime podcasts, this tense production won’t let you down. It’s an extraordinary story of Rodney Alcala’s victims and his multiple crimes.

There won’t be any spoilers here, but I can share this:

I was heartened and buoyed by the several instances of good Samaritans who wove through this podcast.

They were the bystanders, the ‘nosey parkers’ who listened to their instincts and intervened on some occasions when Alcala was about to strike. It was a good reminder for all of us: if you see something in front of you that doesn’t add up, it’s okay to seek answers. It’s okay to watch, it’s okay to double-check, and it’s okay to call the police if you’re worried and suspicious.

This podcast threads itself around Alcala’s appearance on a dating game show. You can see the YouTube clip of that old broadcast below. The woman he ‘won a date with’? That’s another interesting story of people listening to their instincts.

 

As the podcast says at the opening of each episode: please don’t listen if you think the material may affect you.