Plot: The disappearance of Laci Peterson was a case that captivated the world and became a constant in news cycles for years. Her husband Scott Peterson would become one of the most hated people in America, after he became a suspect and a flood of less than flattering revelations would surface. While Scott was hated and convicted by the public long before he ever stood trial, the prosecution had little to no hard evidence of his involvement, just a wealth of circumstantial evidence and the obvious nature of Scott’s persona. He would be tried and convicted, then sentenced to death, but he still maintains his innocence. In this episode of An American Murder Mystery, the case is examined in depth, with interviews from the legal teams, local press, and even friends and family of Laci, to paint a more complete picture of the case.
Entertainment Value: Laci Peterson’s disappearance sparked massive interest from news outlets and the public, as she was a vision of the girl next door. She was the kind of person you could relate to if you didn’t know her, so people took up the cause and had some powerful emotions about the case. Her marriage seemed to be ideal, no one even knew about Laci and Scott having arguments, let alone the kind of problems that could escalate to murder. And of course, she was pregnant. A murder case is always horrific, but the notion that anyone, especially a husband could kill his pregnant wife in cold blood, that is another level of horror. So as it became clear Scott was the prime suspect, it was no surprise he would be hated and become a real life villain, the kind that caused people to celebrate in the streets when he was handed the death penalty. But the case against Peterson was an interesting one, devoid of hard evidence and at first, it seemed like the defense could cakewalk to an acquittal.
In this program, we’re taken back to the start of the case and walked through the actions of those closely involved. This includes a look at some claims that would shed more than a reasonable doubt on Scott’s guilt, such as a witness that saw burglars the day Laci vanished, as well as some jailhouse phone calls that involved one of those burglars, who mentions Laci. These seem to be in place just to have some tension in a case where few people care about evidence or facts, however. But it was still nice to see a contrary aspect to the case, especially to hear some interviewees address the total lack of hard evidence against Scott. In addition to members of the legal teams on each side, the interviews also involve people close to Laci, local reporters, and some extensive time spent with Amber Frey, Peterson’s mistress. While this program offers little new insights into the case, it does serve as a capable primer of the situation. The case is an interesting one and given the massive coverage it earned on national and international stages, it is clear people want to know more, even years later. So if you’re a fan of true crime shows, this episode of An American Murder Mystery is worth a look.