This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: A Closer Look at the Dating Game Killer – Vulture

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The true-crime podcast universe is ever expanding. We’re here to make it a bit smaller and a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows, and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the noteworthy and the exceptional. Each week, our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists will pick their favorites.

The Dating Game Killer, “Tali” and “Rehabilitated”

Chances are you’ve heard of the so-called Dating Game Killer — a violent predator who appeared on the popular game show during the height of his killing spree in the late 1970s — but you probably don’t know the full extent of his depravity. This new six-part series on serial killer Rodney Alcala sheds light on some of those awful details — and it isn’t easy listening. Behind his shaggy hair and cool smile lay a monster who preyed on young women and girls, often using his work as a photographer to lull his victims into a false sense of security. Alcala’s first victim, Tali Shapiro — who is the subject of the first episode — was just 8 years old when he raped her and left her for dead. (She survived.) He pleaded to the lesser charge of assault and was paroled after just 17 months. This was the beginning of a troubling pattern for Alcala: He would assault someone, serve very little time, feign that he was a changed man, and return to society to strike again. To this day, the authorities don’t know how many victims he claimed — they are still trying to identify subjects in an enormous cache of photos Alcala left behind when he went to prison. The only happy ending here is that Alcala is now behind bars and should be there for the rest of his life. —Amy Wilkinson

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