When you’re in the right mood, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, as deeply satisfying as any episode of Dateline, the show which specializes in the seediest and most cartoonish smalltown crimes. Here’s all you need:
The tale must be set in either Colorado, North Dakota or South Carolina, where the license plates read “The Creepy Love Triangle State.”
The estranged first wife must look like a stoic, tennis-playing, PTA Mom with a Dennis the Menace haircut.
The girlfriend must be an ex-cheerleader turned self-described “high-end” stripper turned “executive assistant” to a powerful older man. A recent young lady had received her online Masters Degree, in Leadership and Management, from Jerry Falwell University.
The disgusting husband must be a well-to-do banker or the owner of a Hyundai dealership. He must be described by his Mom and his attorney as “a family man” and “a pillar of the community.” He must have a completely round head and look very, very guilty.
The hit man, most often the stripper’s ex-husband, must be an ex-convict and a substance abuser covered in tattoos which look like bad xeroxes of tattoos. A scraggly soul patch never hurts, and missing teeth are a must.
When the stripper appears in court, she must wear a black skirt, low heels, a white blouse with a frilly collar, and a cardigan. This look is called “pious murderess.”
When asked how they remained hopeful throughout the trial, all of the people listed above must reply, “my faith.”
The stripper and the husband will almost always call each other up while one or both of them are in jail, while awaiting trial. They will sometimes speak in an easily broken code. They will have phone sex. On a recent episode, the husband told the stripper that very soon, they’d be together again, to which the stripper responded, “I know we will. You, me and Jesus.”
The courtroom must look like a finished basement rec room with fluorescent lighting.
The jury must include people who look like they’re being played by Wilfred Brimley, Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig.