ⓘ Evil Genius, TV series. Evil Genius: The True Story of Americas Most Diabolical Bank Heist is a 2018 true crime documentary series about the murder of Brian Wel ..

                                     

ⓘ Evil Genius (TV series)

Evil Genius: The True Story of Americas Most Diabolical Bank Heist is a 2018 true crime documentary series about the murder of Brian Wells, a high-profile 2003 incident often referred to as the "collar bomb" or "pizza bomber" case. It was released on Netflix as a four-part series on May 11, 2018.

                                     

1. Background

Trey Borzillieri got the idea to make a series about a high-profile crime after watching Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and became captivated with the murder of Brian Wells when evidence emerged that Wells may have been forced to commit the robbery with a bomb strapped to his neck. Borzillieri began interviewing people around Erie, Pennsylvania where the incident had occurred, and started corresponding with Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong in 2005, two years after Wellss death, because she might have information about the cold case. He spent years investigating the case, including interacting extensively with Diehl-Armstrong while she was in prison.

                                     

2. Critical response

Evil Genius has a rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 30 reviews, with an average score of 6.45/10. The sites consensus reads, Evil Genius makes up for a lack of conviction and nuance with an intriguing sense of discovery and plenty of entertaining insanity."

The Daily Telegraph s Ed Cumming gave Evil Genius 4 stars out of 5, calling it "a bizarre, grim story that sticks in the mind". Similarly, Greg Morabito reviewed the series favorably for Eater.com, concluding that Evil Genius explores not just the evidence behind the crimes, but also the lives of the suspects, the victims, and their families." Lanre Bakare of the Guardian gave Evil Genius 3 stars out of 5, writing that the series displays "a haunting and unsettling feel as the conspiracy starts to unravel, and the motivations that drove the people who carried out the heist … become apparent." Daniel Fienberg wrote in the Hollywood Reporter that Borzillieris dogged, intense pursuit of a given conclusion made the series intense and revealing but compromised his objectivity.

Other reviews of the show were less favorable. For example, Steve Greene of IndieWire wrote that Evil Genius takes the idea of an interconnected web and decides to follow every thread at once, bouncing back and forth between storylines with a criminally short attention span. There’s something to be discovered in this case, but the show never stays in one place long enough to get a good sense of what it’s actually presenting." In another mixed review, Lincoln Michel wrote in GQ that "while Evil Genius has all the right ingredients, something about the proportions are off and the final mixture isn’t as compelling as it could be. Documentaries like Wild Country, Making a Murderer, and Serial ignited great debates about the cases themselves, the larger societal questions, or the failures of the justice system. Evil Genius doesn’t really do any of that." Nevertheless, Michel described the series as "a perfect binge for the long weekend." Jen Chaney of Vulture praised the series for telling a compelling story, while criticizing the way it portrayed Marjorie Diehl-Armstrongs mental illness.