Pat Postiglione talks to TV Real about his show on ID, Deadly Recall, which has wrapped its second season on the network.
Early on in his career as a homicide detective in Nashville, Tennessee, Postiglione made a surprising discovery—about himself. “I began to realize that I was able to remember everything inside the crime scene and all the details—dates, times, weapon locations, wounds to the victim,” Postiglione says. “Three, four, five months into the investigation, I had a vivid recollection of the crime scene, so if I was questioning someone and I was trying to recall something from the crime scene, it would just come to me. I’d be able to bring it up on my hard drive. I can’t explain it; I just know it exists.”
That photographic memory would serve Postiglione well in his 25 years as a homicide detective, and continues to do so in his second act as the host of ID’s Deadly Recall, which wraps its second season run on the true-crime network tonight (May 20). The show recounts some of the cases Postiglione and his team solved, such as the murder of a young woman at the Esquire Inn that is profiled in tonight’s episode, “Check List.”
Postiglione says that when he was approached to tell the stories of his cases, he was agreeable; “as long as they agreed to tell the stories of the victims, to talk about the victims being more than just victims of a homicide. That’s my whole motivation.”
As for how the team at Joke Productions, which makes the show for ID, approached culling through Postiglione’s case archive, the retired detective notes, “Most of your cases in homicide are going to be drug-related, gang-related. Those are not the types of cases that they typically like to do. They like to do cases where the victim doesn’t necessarily contribute to their own demise. In the cases we’ve been highlighting, victims were just out there trying to earn a living and they ended up getting killed.”
There was a considerable learning curve for Postiglione when he started his career as a television personality. The second season has been much easier than the first, he says.
“Season one, I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea what the process was. I knew all my cases—I had no problem talking about my cases. But at the same time, I didn’t know how you went through the process of doing a show. That was overwhelming for me in season one. In season two, I knew what to expect so I was much more patient. I understood where they were headed. It was a lot smoother because I understood the process.”
Postiglione also had to get used to being interviewed—as opposed to being the one asking all the probing questions. “I really do like being in a position to talk about the victims and their families and to be an advocate for them.”
Watching the show’s crime-scene reenactments, and revisiting certain crime scenes, has been a “surreal” experience, Postiglione adds. “I have the scene in my mind and here I am almost standing back inside the crime scene, like going back in time. It’s an unusual feeling, but I don’t mind doing it. I think it’s necessary. In addition to talking about the victims you have to talk about the case itself; what happened to the victim, how the case got solved. It is an odd feeling, whether it’s going back to the actual crime scene or the re-creation.”
Postiglione praises ID’s overall approach to the true-crime genre. “They’re not looking for the blood and gore to tell these stories. They want to highlight the victims. They want to identify the bad guy, but at the same time, they don’t want to make the bad guy a cult hero. They don’t like to get graphic. I agree with that. I don’t want to put a homicide victim out there for someone else’s entertainment. When the story is told the way ID tells it, it’s much more humanizing. We do have to talk about the homicide, we do have to talk about what happened to the victim, but at the same time, they go above and beyond to humanize the victim. To me that’s what makes it work.”