National Geographic has announced a brand new documentary series called “Pathological: Chasing A True-Crime Con Man”, which follows the rise and fall of bestselling French author and serial killer expert Stéphane Bourgoin, whose remarkable career was built on a foundation of morbid lies that are finally being unveiled in full.
“Pathological: Chasing A True-Crime Con Man” takes viewers through the dramatic twists and turns of Bourgoin’s life in front of and behind the camera and tracks his pursuit by a group of true-crime enthusiasts, whose passion for the genre turned them into amateur sleuths and seekers of truth.
Based on The New Yorker’s 2022 piece on Bourgoin from journalist Lauren Collins and a comprehensive new investigation by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Ben Selkow, the three-part series is produced by The New Yorker Studios and award-winning Left/Right, the production company behind the acclaimed documentary “The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears.”
Tom McDonald, EVP of Global Factual and Unscripted Content, National Geographic, said in a statement:
“True crime, a massive industry with a dedicated fandom and murky ethical lines, is put under the microscope in “Pathological: Chasing A True-Crime Con Man”. National Geographic seeks to expose the truth behind the lies and deceit of this fascinating story. Using new access coupled with Left/Right’s dedication to groundbreaking storytelling and The New Yorker’s reporting prowess, this is a compelling, entertaining story that we hope sparks commentary on the ethics of true crime.”
With unprecedented access, the series features the first on-camera interviews with members of the 4ème Oeil Corporation (aka the “4th Eye”), an anonymous collective of five true-crime aficionados working across three countries, whose unfolding investigation unearthed the mysteries of Bourgoin’s past. In countless media appearances, Bourgoin claimed that he had interviewed 77 serial killers and was trained by the FBI. He presented himself as a grieving widow whose lover was murdered by a serial killer in the 1970s, a trauma that sparked his lifelong pursuit to understand the mind of murderers. The 4th Eye’s shocking findings refuted many of Bourgoin’s claims, exposing the hard truths of a man who exploited the true-crime industry to enrich himself on the backs of victims.
At the heart of “Pathological: Chasing A True-Crime Con Man” is extensive reporting by Collins, beginning with her 2022 The New Yorker story and then expanded by a rigorous new investigation with the team at Left/Right. This new probe includes Bourgoin’s first on-the-record interview with an English-language production and interviews with previously anonymous members of the 4th Eye, Bourgoin’s former colleagues and even members of his family. In an attempt to answer the last lingering question of Bourgoin’s origin story, the series follows Collins as she searches for the truth about a photograph that Bourgon used to elicit sympathy about his murdered partner.
The docu-series – a story that highlights the power and peril of the true-crime industry and the fandom it has cultivated – raises uncomfortable questions about the thin line between Bourgoin’s macabre predilections, the obsessive fans who took him down, and the viewers at home. It’s a true-crime series about true crime.
Directed and executive produced by Ben Selkow. For The New Yorker Studios, Helen Estabrook, Sarah Amos, Lexy Altman and Lauren Collins are executive producers. For Left/Right, Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman and Anneka Jones are executive producers. For National Geographic, Betsy Forhan is executive producer, Bengt Anderson is senior vice president of unscripted content, and Tom McDonald is executive vice president, global factual and unscripted content.
No release date has been announced for the upcoming documentary.
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