Feb 16, 2024

Would It Be Criminal to Introduce a New True-Crime Show?

Cocaine embedded in cheese is our inspiration

By Ed Goldman

When I read that a 23-year-old guy from Texas smuggled cheese wheels embedded with cocaine into the U.S., I thought this would make a perfect story for my proposed new reality/semi-reality/totally-fabricated TV program, “Not Ready for Crime-Time.” 

Here’s a summary of the episodes we’re currently cranking out in the writers room. 

—Oops. We don’t have a “writers room.” We don’t have “writers.” The show isn’t scripted, just like all those reality shows aren’t scripted. And you believe that, right? If so, would you like to join my kick-starter campaign to buy back Manhattan from Peter Minuit, the CEO of the New Netherland colony who bought the island from the Lenape Indians for 60 gold coins (German ones, by the way)? I’ll wait.

Edgy Cartoon

Wheel of jeopardy


This show would consist of a re-enactment of the aforementioned, actual crime (the smuggler got 37 months in prison), lots of scary Ba-Dum music cues and on-camera narration by Lieutenant Prosciutto of the LAPD. (Asked at the audition why we should hire him, he closed one eye and in his best Peter Falk voice said, “‘Cause the character and I are both hams, sir.”)

In deference to the subject matter, this segment will be subtitled in Dutch and wrapped in red paper.


Someone or something has been robbing our nation’s VHS videotape rental stores. (Not the inventory—the actual stores! If you doubt me, go try to find a video rental outlet. Again, I’ll wait.)

A member of our team will go undercover, have a restless night in which he kicks off the cover and then, the next day, put the cover back on the bed, enjoy a light breakfast and go to work. He’ll assume the role of a VHS videotape collector and place an ad in the local Pennysaver discount-coupon flyer. Then, feeling he’s earned a nap he’ll return home and go back undercover, possibly adding a Brooklinen Classic Percale Duvet Cover® for extra warmth and product placement.


What’s really in Jack-in-the-Box’s “secret sauce,” McDonald’s Big Mac sauce and Arby’s horsey sauce? And more to the point, Do you even want to know? 

Our Not Ready For Crime-Time investigative team goes to work—which in this instance means, goes to lunch. After a week of comparing ingredients, doing research in our show’s forensics lab while wearing cool smocks, looking in microscopes and stuff while, in the process, they exceed the show’s budget for Tums Extra Strength® tablets—revealing that the key component of all the sauces is either mayonnaise or ketchup (or, in the case of Jack’s secret sauce—which is simply the lousy 1,000-island dressing you make for your lettuce wedge at home)—both. 

In a later episode, after the team’s health has been restored, it plans to launch a thorough investigation of which element makes smoothies greener: Lacinato kale or pond algae. For foodies, “lacinato kale” is also known as Tuscan kale, Italian kale and, my fave, dinosaur kale—which should let the Ice Age off the hook for allegedly killing all those T-Rexes.


First, some hard facts: No auto is all that “grand.” And if you can buy a used one for a grand, make sure the tires aren’t about to fall off. So calling something “grand theft auto” is just wrong.

However, there really are pianos that are grand (interestingly, the grandest may be found in grand ballrooms). And if you rip off one of these, baby, my team is ready to not only hunt you down but also, when it finds you, force you to endure a recital of seven-year-old boys playing “Three Blind Mice” which they learned via the Suzuki Method® at second-grade recess. Our cameras will record it all. You’d better put that grand piano back where you found it.

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This may be akin to asking, “Who Wakes the Bugler,” the title of a Peter DeVries book I have a first-edition of just waiting for the right obscure-ephemera buyer.

But seriously: If in those drawing-room murder mysteries of the 1800s and early 1900s the culprit is frequently the butler, what happens if someone offs him? It’s immaterial whether his name is Jeeves, James or Rhett (I’ll wait for that last one to send thrills of delight up your spine). The fact is, a man has been killed, probably in a charming British manner, and someone has to pay the price.

This is the essential (and persistent) moral of Not Ready For Crime-Time—that unless you start a TV franchise like CSI, NCIS or Cops, become either a lieutenant in your neighborhood affiliate of the Mafia or a crypto/scrip/NFT banker, crime really doesn’t pay. We’d like to prove that wrong, of course. If nothing else, to get some people to join our kick-starter campaign.

Don’t forget! A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!


Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).