Why Reality TV & Active BTK Investigation Don't Mix

Sep 29, 2023, 01:00 AM

"Can the resurgence in a cold murder case be overshadowed by the allure of reality TV fame?" This is the question on the lips of many after a recent episode of the podcast "Hidden Killers" hosted by Tony Brueski.
 Brueski spoke to psychotherapist and author, Shavaun Scott, discussing the renewed vigor in investigating a possible link between the infamous BTK killer and the unsolved disappearance of Cynthia Dawn Kinney in 1976. As the narrative goes, BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) had penned a piece titled "Bad Wash Day" during his stint as an ADT installer across from the bank where Kinney was last seen. The seeming connection has ignited a spark in Osage County under-sheriff, Eddie Vierten, who has expressed enthusiasm in procuring evidence from Wichita to explore the potential link.
 “I applaud them for having this energy,” Brueski stated, referring to the efforts of the national task force, which includes BTK's own daughter. The aim is clear: to find answers and possible closure for a case that has long remained cold.
 However, the commendable zeal is slightly tainted by rumors of a reality show in the works. Sheriff Gary Upton is reportedly working on a reality TV project with the CW network, scheduled to tape later this year with a prospective air date in January. Brueski voiced his reservations, remarking, “I've never heard of television working quite the way that Gary is talking about.” The implications are slightly unnerving, especially when you consider the seriousness of the crime and the pain it has inflicted on many.
 Scott echoed Brueski's concerns, pointing out the potential ethical misstep of blending true crime with reality TV sensationalism. "It's not about somebody becoming famous," she emphasized, "It's really about wanting to solve this crime." A professional in her field, Scott acknowledged the ethical boundaries that all professionals should adhere to. The quest for fame, as it seems, could muddy the clear waters of justice and leave the real objectives in the backdrop.
 This isn't to dismiss the efforts of investigators who step into the limelight for the sake of justice. “I do admire people who are going to step out of their own comfort zone,” Brueski noted. But there's an unsettling theatricality in the way the case has been portrayed, which Brueski likened to a Netflix miniseries with creative liberties.
 Of course, there's always the human element. Cynthia Dawn Kinney's parents are still alive and yearning for answers. This reinvigorated investigation offers a glimmer of hope to them. Yet, if the allure of fame and attention overtakes the noble pursuit of justice, the consequences could be tragic.
 Brueski's advice to those involved, especially those on the task force: “Be careful on the optics on this and who's driving the ship.” Shavaun Scott concurred, stressing the importance of adhering to ethical guidelines and maintaining clarity on the main goal - solving the crime.
 The case's revival raises pertinent questions about the ethical implications of mixing crime-solving with entertainment. Are the boundaries between seeking justice and gaining fame becoming too blurred?
 So, as listeners grapple with the new information and opinions, we are left pondering: "Where should the line be drawn between crime-solving as a public duty and as a form of entertainment?"

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