For his 2009 ebook “The Ceremony: The Making of a Fashionable Exorcist,” writer Matt Baglio explored an exorcism class at a Vatican-sponsored college in Rome.
For 2012’s “Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in Historical past,” Baglio and co-author Antonio Mendez took a deep dive into Mendez’s hair-raising 1979 rescue of six American hostages from the American embassy in Tehran. That rescue impressed the movie “Argo,” which received a best-picture Oscar in 2013.
Having handled the Vatican and the CIA, Baglio knew the way to deal with massive, secretive bureaucracies. However he was nonetheless not ready for the challenges introduced by Fox Lake, Illinois, a small city with a scandalous story it didn’t need Baglio to inform.
He advised it anyway.
That story unfurled final October in “Over My Useless Physique: Fox Lake,” a true-crime podcast investigating the 2015 demise of Fox Lake police lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz. Baglio wrote and hosted “Fox Lake.” It was the third installment of the “Over My Useless Physique” sequence from Wondery, the corporate behind such common podcasts as “Dr. Loss of life” and “The Shrink Subsequent Door.” Baglio’s podcast debuted at No. 1 on Apple podcasts, and it stayed there for the following 5 weeks.
And it is no surprise. With its tangle of arduous truths and painful lies, the Gliniewicz case was made for the podcasting format, which retains listeners hooked to their earbuds with hairpin plot twists and nail-biting cliffhangers.
It was additionally made for Baglio, even when Fox Lake was decided to maintain him out of the loop.
“With all the things that has been happening with policing in America, there was quite a lot of hesitancy there. Some folks simply mentioned, ‘No,’ throughout the board,” mentioned the 48-year-old Baglio, who moved to Italy in 2002, and cut up his time between Europe and the U.S. earlier than transferring to Encinitas, California, final summer time along with his spouse and teenaged son.
“It helped to go there and speak to folks, and quite a lot of them have been very nice. However it was irritating from the standpoint that I wished to inform the definitive model. I wasn’t there to guage. I wished to listen to what everybody needed to say and uncover the reality.”
When Gliniewicz was discovered gunned down in a wooded space close to a marsh, it appeared for all of the world just like the tragic story of a fearless cop killed within the line of obligation. He had radioed the dispatcher that he was chasing three suspects. He radioed a second time, asking for backup.
When backup arrived, Gliniewicz was already lifeless. The weekslong manhunt that adopted put the village of Fox Lake within the nationwide highlight, as nonstop cable-news protection turned the gung-ho officer everybody knew as “G.I. Joe” right into a hero.
That was the story, anyway. However as investigators found within the weeks following Gliniewicz’s demise, it was not the reality.
By the point Baglio heard in regards to the case two years later, the Joe Gliniewicz saga was outdated information that the folks of Fox Lake have been in no hurry to dig up once more. However as a longtime journalist and the co-author of two New York Occasions bestsellers, Baglio knew a superb story when he heard one. And he suspected that this story was greater than one cop and one small city.
“I used to be immediately fascinated,” mentioned Baglio, who heard in regards to the case from a buddy who grew up within the Fox Lake space. “Not solely was it an investigation right into a homicide that turned out to be one thing else, however there have been all of those different facets that I used to be intrigued by.
“You had these all these actually colourful characters. You had a cop who was nicknamed ‘G.I. Joe,’ and also you had all of those different themes. You had rural America and the parable of the American hero. You had the entire divide about policing and Blue Lives Matter. There was poisonous masculinity. I began doing analysis and getting in contact with individuals who have been concerned within the story, and from there, it acquired much more fascinating.”
Simply how fascinating is for the podcast’s followers to know and for future followers to seek out out. Let’s simply say that Gliniewicz’s demise was not what it appeared. And as Baglio found by way of paperwork obtained by way of the Freedom of Info Act and interviews with investigators, politicians and different shell-shocked townspeople, G.I. Joe was not the person folks thought he was.
However that story? It was simply as fascinating as Baglio knew it will be.
After its podcast success, “Over My Useless Physique: Fox Lake” might observe within the media footsteps of “Dr. Loss of life” and “The Shrink Subsequent Door” and turn out to be a TV sequence. A screenwriter is presently pitching it to streaming companies.
As for Baglio, he’s looking out the following alternative to ignore anybody’s footsteps. Together with his personal.
“After ‘The Ceremony,’ I acquired pitched a few concepts about Discovery Channel-type reveals the place I might examine spooky locations, and that is why ‘Argo’ was so nice. It was necessary for me to indicate that I might write about many various subjects. These tales usually are not within the conventional vein of what you consider as true-crime tales or tales about exorcism or spies. With ‘Fox Lake,’ it had one other angle to it, about what an American hero can change into.
“That’s the factor I am all the time chasing. I all the time need to discover the following genre-busting story.”
The “Over My Useless Physique: Fox Lake” podcast is out there on Apple podcasts, Amazon Music, the Wondery app and wherever you get your podcasts.