Genre cross-overs in most entertainment can work incredibly well, such as horror comedy. The reason that this works so well is that is that horror and comedy are two sides of the same coin, they both rely on the unexpected for their big pay off, and so mould well together.
Not so much true crime and romance. Sure there are couples in true crime, Bonnie and Clyde, Starkweath and Fugate who Natural Born Killer’s Micky and Mallory was based on, and later Iain Brady and Myra Hindley. While there are a few big names, couples where both are active in a crime tend to be the exception rather than the rule, but even more rare are couples where one is a criminal, and the other is a serving police officer, as is the case in Wondery’s latest podcast Stolen Hearts.
We start the series with Jill Evans who lives in a small village in Wales and joins the police and progesses through the force. Jill like many of us at points in our lives has been unlucky in love. She has had three engagements, two divorces and one affair. Again, like many of us Jill turns to the apps in the hope that she may be able to find something lasting. She meets Dean, and they immediately hit it off, and romance blossoms.
So far, so romantic, Jill and Dean are in love with each other and they start to make plans for the future. There are a few red flags, but you know, everyone ignores the odd red flag in the honeymoon stage. Jill however is soon to find out that Dean has another life. One where he not only has a wife in London, but where he robs banks, with a gun. Jill only finds out when Dean is arrested, and she herself is questioned by police.
It must be truely devistating to find out someone you loved was withholding fundemental information from you, but Jill, controversally sticks by her man. While that in itself is not so unusual and I suspect Jill’s pregnancy probably had something to do with it, the fact that Jill a police sergent, did not immediately cooperate with the police and instead appeared to run interferance for her bank robber lover is difficult to swallow. Even more so when she sells her story to a magazine, and is unsuprisingly is forced to resign.
It’s difficult to know exactly what was going through Dean’s head, most criminals would not seriously date a police officer. But on the other hand Dean also had a busines making and selling men’s grooming product range called The Guv’nor, with cheeky crime themed names. Maybe he really did fall in love, but I suspect that he was probably someone who enjoyed, or was even addicted to taking risks.
Throughout the podcast it is hard not to shake ones head and wonder what on earth Jill was thinking. We’ve all fallen for a bad boy, but I know very few people who when their partners poor behaviour was revealed tanked their own careers over it. It is very easy to think that Jill should have known better, afterall she wasn’t a new woman on the beat, she was a police sergent, which carries significant responsibility with it.
Here pehapse we get to the crux of what is really uncomfortable in Stolen Hearts. The fact that we expect our police to somehow exist seperate from the rest of the population, not ruled by and consumed by the same personal flaws, stresses and criticisims. They are meant to both being compassionate in their policing while also being more morally upstanding than the rest of the population. Which giving the inherint messieness of human existance is a tall order for many of us.
At a time when the police in the UK are under more scruitny than ever due to the Met, Britains biggest force, safely harbouring rapists, people with various levels of sexual offending, and domestic abusers for decades. Jill’s poor decision making appears tame in comparison.