William Calley (The My Lai Massacre)

This week, we cover one of the most shameful war crimes in American history–and the shockingly light sentence of the only man successfully convicted for it. What happens when business tactics are applied to warfare? Why did it take so long for William Calley’s crimes to come to light? And why did so many Americans, including the president, believe he was justified in murdering hundreds of civilians?

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Midhat Pasha

In our first court case from the Islamic world, we meet one of history’s greatest bureaucrats. Midhat Pasha was fantastic at taking control of troubled territories and coming up with grand new legal ideas, but he wasn’t so great at playing politics. Meet the scholar who rose to be the Grand Vizier of an empire before he became the defendant in an unwinnable show trial.

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Mary Carleton

Meet the woman who claimed to be a German princess, scammed a handful of husbands, palled around with pirates, and played her scandalous self on the stage. Why were so many English men so easy to dupe when a stranger showed up claiming noble heritage? How did a con artist become a celebrity? How much do we really know about Mary as a person, and how much did this self-made woman construct herself as a character?

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“Typhoid” Mary Mallon

This week, we’re covering the strange, sad case of Mary Mallon, one of America’s most notorious killers—who never technically committed a crime. When is it illegal to spread a disease? Why did the Health Department have the power to detain people indefinitely? Does Mary deserve her infamy, or was she a victim of a system that was stacked against her from the start?

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Dr. Amy Bishop

In this week’s episode, we cover an unfortunately common type of crime, a workplace mass homicide, in an unusual location: a college campus. Did Dr. Bishop really “snap” because she was denied tenure, or were commenters using a sensational story to draw attention to one of America’s strangest employment practices?

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