Podcast: Empire on Blood
Review by Rob Cox
Opening with the most recent - and possibly final - parole hearing of convicted murderer Cal Buari, this brand new podcast from journalist Steve Fishman and Panoply explores an epic act of betrayal between two friends. Buari and Dwight Robinson ruled the Bronx in the early 1990s - driving BMWs and wearing mink as they sold crack and rolled high. But when two brothers were shot dead in the North Bronx in 1992, Robinson inexplicably turned on his friend and gave him up to the police. Did Buari actually commit the murders or did Robinson have another agenda?
What would it be like to run a campaign for freedom from a prison payphone? Fishman asks in the first episode, and the podcast effectively acts as a period piece and a forensic examination of the facts in the style of Serial, although the broader melding of the sociopolitical, historical and criminal has more in common with last year's Crimetown. Structured as an audio tour through the evidence and around interviews with key witnesses, it's a relaxed, involving and evocative dip into the underworld of a particular time and place.