Evil Genius (TV series)

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Evil Genius
Genre True crime
Based on Murder of Brian Wells
Written by Barbara Schroeder
Directed by Barbara Schroeder, co-director Trey Borzillieri
Narrated by Trey Borzillieri
Composer(s) Gary Lionelli, Gage Boozan
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 4
Executive producer(s) Mark and Jay Duplass, Josh and Dan Braun
Running time 45–53 minutes
Production company(s) Duplass Brothers Productions
Distributor Netflix
Original release May 11, 2018 (2018-05-11)

Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist is a 2018 true crime docuseries about the murder of Brian Wells, a high-profile 2003 incident often referred to as the "collar bomb" or "pizza bomber" case.[1][2] It was released on Netflix as a four-part series on May 11, 2018, whereupon Netflix marketed it as featured content.[3]


Trey Borzillieri, the co-director of Evil Genius, first got the idea to make a series about a high-profile crime after watching Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. He became captivated with the murder of Brian Wells when evidence emerged that Wells may have been forced to commit the robbery with a bomb strapped to his chest. He subsequently began interviewing people around Erie, Pennsylvania, where the incident had occurred. In 2005, two years after Wells's death, Borzillieri struck up a correspondence with Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, originally because she was one of the only people who might have information about the (then) cold case.[4] He spent years investigating the case, including interacting extensively with Diehl-Armstrong while she was in prison.[5]


No.TitleOriginal air date
1"Part 1: The Heist"May 11, 2018 (2018-05-11)
2"Part 2: The Frozen Body"May 11, 2018 (2018-05-11)
3"Part 3: The Suspects"May 11, 2018 (2018-05-11)
4"Part 4: The Confessions"May 11, 2018 (2018-05-11)

Critical response[edit]

Evil Genius has a rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's consensus reads, "Evil Genius makes up for a lack of conviction and nuance with an intriguing sense of discovery and plenty of entertaining insanity."[6]

The Daily Telegraph's Ed Cumming gave Evil Genius 4 stars out of 5, calling it "a bizarre, grim story that sticks in the mind".[7] Similarly, Greg Morabito reviewed the series favorably for Eater.com, concluding that "Like any great true-crime saga, Evil Genius explores not just the evidence behind the crimes, but also the lives of the suspects, the victims, and their families. The result is a multi-layered look at how a small community was rocked by a series of unbelievable events and the investigations that followed."[8] Lanre Bakare of the Guardian gave Evil Genius 3 stars out of 5. In his review, he wrote that the series displays "a haunting and unsettling feel as the conspiracy starts to unravel, and the motivations that drove the people who carried out the heist – partially at least – become apparent. There’s plenty here for the true-crime crowd and for devotees of the darkness lurking in suburbia."[9] Daniel Fienberg wrote in the Hollywood Reporter that Borzillieri's dogged, intense pursuit of the true culprit in the Wells case was both the best and most frustrating part of Evil Genius. Fienberg argued that Borzillieri's pursuit of a given conclusion both made the series intense and revealing and compromised Borzillieri's objectivity.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chan, Melissa (2018-05-11). "What to Know About the Shocking Case Behind Evil Genius". Time. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  2. ^ Chaney, Jen (2018-05-15). "The Frustrating Portrait of Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong in Netflix's Evil Genius". Vulture. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  3. ^ Warren, Nick (2018-05-23). "Evil Genius Delivers News on Infamous Erie Event". Erie Reader. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  4. ^ Schager, Nick (2018-05-21). "'Evil Genius': Unlocking the Mysteries of Netflix's Crazy Pizza Bomber Heist Series". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  5. ^ Lowry, Brian (2018-05-11). "'Evil Genius' could be Netflix's next true-crime obsession". CNN. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  6. ^ "Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  7. ^ Cumming, Ed (2018-05-11). "Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist, Netflix review – a bizarre, grim story that sticks in the mind". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  8. ^ Morabito, Greg (2018-05-15). "Netflix's New Docuseries 'Evil Genius' Tells the True-Crime Story of the Pizza Bomber". Eater. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  9. ^ Bakare, Lanre (2018-05-11). "Evil Genius review – unsettling bomb plot blows apart smalltown America". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  10. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (2018-05-11). "'Evil Genius': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 

External links[edit]