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The Fitz Files – Manhunt: Unabomber

This is James R. Fitzgerald, Jim Fitzgerald, or “Fitz,” as you may best know me. Welcome to my first-ever podcast, The Fitz Files – Manhunt: Unabomber.

As you may know, it was my FBI profiler character portrayed so convincingly by actor Sam Worthington throughout the eight episodes of Discovery Channel’s original scripted series, Manhunt :Unabomber (M:U). It premiered on August 1, 2017, airing over seven consecutive Tuesday nights through mid-September of that year. Of course, many of you have since watched it on Netflix.

My goal in every episode of The Fitz Files – Manhunt Unabomber is to take you behind the scenes of the making of the series by talking to those directly involved in its creation and production. That will include the director, the head writer, a co-creator, the property master, the set decorator, and a forensic linguist (besides me) who was ALSO portrayed in the series…well, sort of. Oh, and needless to say, I add plenty of insight myself to these episodes as I was the series’ Consulting Producer, its protagonist, and most importantly, I was also the actual profiler who worked the actual Unabom case in the mid-1990s. So yeah, I have lots to offer here about M:U as it relates to the case itself, some of that information for the first time ever in a public forum.

So, how is this going to work? Well, each of the eight Fitz Files episodes will correlate with the same numbered episode on M:U. In each of these episodes, I begin with a segment I call, “Fitz’s Five Facts v Fiction.” Here, I discuss what and who was portrayed in each episode of the series and compare it to what actually happened in real life in the Unabom investigation, not to mention in my own life at the time. It’s sort of a “r-e-e-l” vs “r-e-a-l” thing, if you know your homonyms. Hey, I’m also a forensic linguist and M:U is about language analysis, so get used to my references regarding how people talk, write, parts of speech, idiolects, etc. Afterall, it’s what solved the case, right? Oops! I guess I should have given you a “spoiler alert” about that. Sorry!

After the “Five Facts…” segment in six of the episodes, I interview one of the people responsible for the success of M:U. You’ll enjoy their insight too, I’m sure of it.

Oh, and speaking of spoiler alerts, obviously if you’ve already watched M:U, what we’re talking about will make a little more sense to you. But if you haven’t watched it yet, that’s ok, too. I think you’ll enjoy what we have to say here about it either way and perhaps you WILL want to watch it after listening to The Fitz Files. Or, perhaps you’ll want to watch it again, or for the third time, or the fourth time. Yes, I know there are some multiple watchers out there. You’ve told me. And that’s cool. I take it as a compliment.

Here’s a breakdown of each episode of The Fitz Files – Manhunt: Unabomber

Prologue Fitz provides a summary of the FBI’s Unabom investigation from 1978-1998.

Ep 1 “Unabom” (Directed by: Greg Yaitanes Written by: Andrew Sodroski)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 1
Guest: Jim Clemente, Co-creator

Ep 2 “Pure Wudder” (Directed by: Greg Yaitanes Written by: Andrew Sodroski)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 2
Guest: Greg Yaitanes, Director

Ep 3 “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” (Director: Greg Yaitanes Written by: Max Hurwitz)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 3
Guest: Andrew Sodroski, Head Writer

Ep 4 “Publish or Perish” (Directed by: Greg Yaitanes Written by: Nick Towne)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 4
Guest: John Bert, Property Master

Ep 5 “Abri” (Directed by: Greg Yaitanes Teleplay by: Steven Katz)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 5
Guest: Natalie Schilling, Ph.d., Forensic Linguist (Natalie Rogers was loosely based on her)

Ep 6 “Ted” (Directed by: Greg Yaitanes Written by: Andrew Sodroski)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 6
Guest: Chuck Potter, Set Decorator

Ep 7 “Lincoln” (Directed by: Greg Yaitanes Teleplay by: Nick Schenk)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 7
Guest: Sam Worthington’s questions to Fitz (as read by a “genuine” Australian fan, Jenny Magee)

Ep 8 “USA v Theodore J. Kaczynski” (Directed by: Greg Yaitanes Written by: Andrew Sodroski)
Fitz’s Five Facts vs Fiction re Ep 8
Guests: Eight selected fans and their eight questions for Fitz.

Epilogue Fitz talks about his professional life post-Unabom. This includes references to many interesting and high-profile cases he worked from ’98 to the present. He also talks about his plans for future books and/or Fitz File podcasts, tributes to a few people, including the victims of the Unabomber, and then a special personal and professional announcement at the very end.

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