Root Of Evil review

Production company – TNT/Cadence 13

Rating –

Root Of Evil logo

Originally, I subscribed to this series because it shed new light on the “Black Dahlia” murder. Surely one of the great murder mysteries of the 20th century. What I got instead was so much more. And so much that I wish I didn’t know. I feel I should warn you from the outset though. Although I won’t go into any great detail about the events in this series, if you do want to listen then there is plenty that people will find very upsetting indeed.

So what’s it about?

On January 15th 1947, the body of Elizabeth Short was discovered on a patch of waste ground in Leimert Park in Los Angeles. She had been brutally murdered and mutilated. The horrific nature of the killing sparked national interest in the murder and she quickly became dubbed The Black Dahlia. Despite the highly publicized nature of the murder, no suspects were ever arrested.

Root Of Evil is a podcast presented by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile. They are the great-granddaughters of a man called George Hodel. He was a well known doctor, and friend to the bohemian artists that congregated in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s, including the legendary surrealist Man Ray and director John Huston.

George Hodel is also a suspect in the murder of Elizabeth Short. His involvement in the murder is the result of an extensive investigation by his own son, homicide detective Steve Hodel. He originally investigated the murder to exonerate his father’s involvement. But as evidence mounted, the odds looked stacked in favour of him being the killer.

As Rasha and Yvette delve into their family history, they uncover stories that have affected generations of the family to unimaginable degrees. When you hear the tales of growing up as a part of the Hodel family, it becomes almost too much to hear.

Is it any good?

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, then yes. If you get upset or triggered at stories of murder, abuse and other such unsavory practices, then stay well away. Seriously.

The podcast really is two stories in one. You have the direct effects of George Hodel on his family, and how they have tried to overcome the very long shadow of his crimes against them. The other side is the work that Steve Hodel has done in researching the murder of Elizabeth Short, and how that connects to his father.

Both sides are very well researched, and no punches are pulled. Soon a picture is painted of a deeply disturbed man that started generational waves of misery down the family line. The all too familiar (nowadays at least) methods used by influential to escape scrutiny and justice is also revealed

Final thoughts

This was a grueling listen in a similar vein to Hunting Warhead. The fact that one man’s evil deeds can impact so many generations of his family is unbelievable, it should be unbelievable anyway. Unfortunately it isn’t.

The final episode was both heartwarming and heartbreaking, as the grandchildren met up for the first time in decades to discuss how they have tried to rebuild their lives in the face of terrible life experiences.

In the interest of fairness, I do need to point out that while there is no doubt that George Hodel was a disgusting individual, he was never charged with the murder of Elizabeth Short. Not only that, but there is a very long list of suspects indeed. The evidence that Steve Hodel has uncovered is certainly compelling though…

You can get Root Of Evil wherever you get your podcasts. No link this week I’m afraid, there doesn’t seem to be any link available direct from the Cadence 13 website. Instead, I will include a link to Steve Hodel’s website about his research into Elizabeth Short’s murder: