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West Cork

True-crime • Society-and-culture

In West Cork, it’s simply known as ‘the murder’. In 1996 French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier is found dead near her holiday home. There are no witnesses and no known motive. The police suspect one man in this community but they can’t make a charge stick and he refuses to leave, livingRead more

Popular episodes

14. He Sees Sophie Everywhere

May 14 • 52:59

New Feature Episode: An Englishman is on trial in a French court for a murder committed in Ireland. With no defendant present. And no defence....

1: Blow-ins

Mar 29 • 27:48

West Cork, Ireland is an outpost at the edge of Europe, the jumping-off point for America. Rugged windswept and coastal, it was a place of farmers and fisherman until the 1960’s, when it was discovered by the ‘blow-in’s.’ People who drove until the road ran out, artists and urban runaways – a haven for those ready to turn their backs on their old lives and start again. But...

2: The Back of Beyond

Mar 29 • 27:18

A body is found at the end of a path leading to three houses. In West Cork, the police, known in Ireland as ‘the guards,’ have little experience with serious crime, and the victim—a French woman with a holiday home in the area—is a mysterious figure in West Cork. That night, as news of the murder snakes through the community, everyone begins to question whether or not they...

3: Sophie Buoniol

Mar 29 • 34:06

Sophie Buoniol, commonly referred to by her married name, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, was 39 years old when she was murdered, a well-connected French film producer. In a place where there had been no murder that anyone can remember, locals speculated that the murderer must have come from out of town. But West Cork grapples with which version of Sophie to believe. Rumors abo...

4: Killer Among Us

Mar 29 • 35:43

In the weeks following the murder, Schull, the jewel-box vacation town closest to Sophie’s home, becomes a very different kind of place to live. With no answers, and the police focusing on locals, the townspeople start watching their neighbors more closely. And the guards begin receiving anonymous calls about a ‘strange man’ in town....

5: A Good Suspect

Mar 29 • 33:05

The guards have a suspect—one who has spent the last 20 years trying to convince Ireland that he is not a murderer. We begin on the first day of the investigation, tracing the suspects’ behavior over the six weeks following the murder, up until the day of his arrest. What was he up to, and how did he become the central figure in one of Ireland’s most notorious murder cases...

6: The Englishman

Mar 29 • 39:07

A blow-in from Manchester, England, the suspect has been grating on locals ever since he first arrived in West Cork. He has been accused of inserting himself into the investigation and delighting in his notoriety, at the expense of figuring out what really happened to Sophie. Though he is often perceived as arrogant and tactless, his history and personal diaries reveal dee...

7: The Arrest

Mar 29 • 37:46

On February 10th, 1997, the guards make an arrest in a well-orchestrated plan to snare their chief suspect. There’s an interrogation, a question of coercion, and an alibi that doesn’t quite hold up—but no confession. The charge doesn’t stick, for now, but someone close to the suspect appears to waffle on his guilt....

8: The Game Is On

Mar 29 • 37:52

After the guards fail to get a confession, a game of cat and mouse ensues; the guards need more evidence, but worry that they are being outsmarted. In this episode, secret recordings of the guards give an insight into the lengths they were willing to go to ensnare their suspect—planting spies, using wires—to little success. ...

9: The Moonshine Effect

Mar 29 • 35:55

After the arrest is made public in West Cork, the town is terrified, convinced there is a murderer next-door. And yet, the suspect remains. It seems everyone has a theory, a story about the suspects’ strangeness, from the plausible to the absurd: that he is a sexual predator, he wanders the countryside alone, howling, driven to madness by the full moon. As it turns out, ho...

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