In the Florida Keys, Marcus explores the myth of legendary pirate Black Caesar with author David Sloan. To learn more about treasure hunting, he joins Sean Fisher and his team as they search for the remaining treasure of the Spanish galleon, Atocha. He visits historian Tom Hambright to discuss Dutchy Melbourne and his early 20th century gang of thieves and arsonists, and dons forty pounds of gear in a smoke-filled building to experience a fire rescue first-hand. And, Marcus gets a dose of the outlaw spirit in the strange story of Bum Farto, the drug smuggling fire chief and joins the Coast Guard on the Key Biscayne cutter to see how they catch drug smugglers today. The outlaw mystique of the Florida Keys is one reason people come here for a weekend and stay for a lifetime.
Seattle is a town full of dreamers that nurtures the rise and fall of a genius. The death of Kurt Cobain is a mystery that obsesses fans, cops and conspiracy theorists. In the San Juan Islands, Colton Harris Moore committed over 80 thefts and burglaries. The surveillance video capturing him without shoes named him "The Barefoot Bandit" and through Facebook, he became a new folk hero. For over two years, he'd borrow boats and steal planes. Though eventually caught, everyone suspects this isn't the end of Colton's tale. In addition to speaking with those who know these stories intimately, Marcus attempts to understand these infamous men better by jamming with a grunge band, learning toxicology, and feeling the adrenaline rush of flying and landing a plane on his own. Renegade energy. This describes two men with different stories that share one thing; huge dreams with nothing to lose. Seattle is a place where the exceptional is possible.
Hunting is to Alaska what golf is to Pebble Beach: both an engine of the economy and part of the culture. Here in Anchorage, Marcus does some "hunting" of his own as he explores the city's most notorious characters. He teams up with paranormal experts to hunt down the ghost of Anchorage's first police chief, then sees what it's like to be the one hunted as he and a professional tracker walk in the footsteps of Robert Hansen's victims. Finally, he takes on the more traditional definition of the role, shooting a bow to understand the pressure an undercover wildlife agent faced when bringing down a ruthless poaching camp.
If ever there was a city that's everything to everyone, it's New York. Frenetic, dense, claustrophobic, it's a constant pulse of life, the beating heart of America. To get closer to the era that haunts him the most, Marcus walks in the footsteps of three of the 1970's most epic criminals: sadistic serial killer Son of Sam, who for one summer, held the entire city hostage; Harlem gangster Nicky Barnes, who vertically integrated the heroin market; and ruined prince of punk rock Sid Vicious, who allegedly murdered his girlfriend in cold blood.
Arguably the most unique city in America, New Orleans is a complicated place, a steamy world of colliding cultures and festering corruption. Here, Marcus faces down its demons investigating crimes from two eras: the horrifying cruelties of sadistic 19th century socialite, Madame LaLaurie, and the cruel war waged by Marc Essex on the entire city in the 1970s.
It is the nerve center of America, the heart of government and the pulse of politics. It is a city sculpted out of marble, monuments, and history. But for every hallowed hall dedicated to truth and justice, there are dilapidated streets littered with poverty, crime, and corruption. It is a place people look to for wisdom and leadership, but it is also a place infused with murder, scandals, and lies. Marcus goes behind the façade of our nation's capitol to investigate three notorious crimes that have left their mark on Washington D.C. Marcus takes aim at the story of the Beltway Snipers, a pair of sociopaths who imposed their will on innocent people, killing at random and from afar. Marcus looks deep into the shadowy world of spies and the case of Robert Hanssen, a top FBI agent who betrayed his country for over two decades by selling deadly secrets to the Russians. Marcus delves into the world of spies and Hanssen's double life by talking to two men who knew him well, or thought they knew him. Marcus turns his focus to the shocking "rise and fall and rise again" career of Mayor Marion Barry. Marcus analyzes Barry's sordid history of accomplishments and addictions only to find a story of power and weakness, success and failure; a story that could only happen in Washington D.C.
Chicago is a city built on contrasts and corruption. Glimmering high-rises and crumbling neighborhoods; a beautiful lakefront built atop smoldering landfills. Crime writer Marcus Sakey strides through the city with swagger to show us the crimes and criminals that make Chicago unique. First, he plots the story of John Dillinger, a public enemy with panache. He robbed "The Man" by stealing from the banks, but he'd tip his hat to the ladies and let them keep their wallets. Marcus goes to a shooting range to fire a Tommy gun like the one Dillinger used and feels the rush that kept Dillinger going. Next, he enters the mind of America's first serial killer, H.H. Holmes, who used a hotel to capture and murder guests who came to the city for the 1893 World's Fair. Talking with a homicide detective, Marcus finds out that serial killers can often hide in plain sight - a shiver-producing thought. Finally, Marcus enmeshes himself in the notorious 1968 Democratic National Convention riots by engaging in both sides of the story - the police and the protestors' perspectives. He tries defensive baton training and talks with a policeman who was there to understand the cops perspective, then he gets maced and talks to one of the infamous Chicago Seven members to undergo what the protestors felt. There's two sides to every story and Marcus shows us both.
Marcus retraces the converging paths of Milk , America's first openly gay elected official, and his political rival, Dan White, as their ideological differences lead to one of the nation's most infamous murders. And, he matches wits with one of the world's best puzzle makers as he tries to understand the mind of the Zodiac serial killer, the real-life Riddler, who enjoyed being pursued more than murdering. San Fran's striking hills, charming streetcars and romantic fog only tell part of the story of a town built on crime.
A city unlike any other in the state of Texas, Austin is a liberal melting pot of creativity, live music and quirky weirdness. But it is still Texas - where everything is big - and Austin holds its own with big drama and over-the-top characters. Nothing epitomizes this more than the case of Celeste Beard. For the first time ever, Marcus sits down with a convicted murderess to hear her side of a tale intertwined with sex, money, murder and manipulation. No other crime impacted the city of Austin - and the nation as a whole - as the 1966 University of Texas tower sniper. Marcus hits the gun range and has his brain scanned to try to get a glimpse into the mind and actions of Charles Whitman. Marcus explores how fate can mean the difference between life and death. But Austin doesn't dwell on the past. This is a town with a zest for life, where weirdness isn't just accepted, it's encouraged.
Los Angeles is the epicenter of fame, image, and celebrity but some of those dreams turn into nightmares. Marcus investigates the shocking facts and myths that colored L.A.'s most notorious unsolved case, The Black Dahlia murder, a story of how the most unlikely of women became famous for the wrong reasons. He explores the crime through the eyes of an ex-L.A.P.D. cop, delves into the frenzy of media by stalking a celebrity with a paparazzo, and unearths the chilling theory of former homicide detective, Steve Hodel, who believes his father murdered Elizabeth Short. Marcus follows the legend of porn icon John Holmes through the director who discovered Holmes, Bob Chin, and current porn goddess, Kayden Kross, who knows the territory. And, he goes deep inside Holmes's psyche to uncover what thrust him into unbridled stardom, addiction, and possibly even murder. And the afterglow of the L.A. Riots still burns bright as Marcus gets perspective from the cops, business owners, and residents that were caught in the crossfire that lit up South Central in 1992.