February 8th Show : Blog Of The Nation In our first hour of Talk of the Nation, defending the indefensible, and William H. Macy talks about Shameless. In our second hour, death detective dysfunction, and Spiderman the musical.
NPR logo February 8th Show

February 8th Show

The challenges of defending the indefensible.

Defending the Indefensible
There's little doubt about who's responsible for the shootings in Tucson last month. Dozens of people watched as the suspect shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and then turned his gun on the crowd. Jared Loughner pled not guilty to federal charges, and now his life may rest on his lawyer. The defense has the unique challenge of defending her client in the face of overwhelming evidence against him. Host Neal Conan talks with Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at the George Washington University and David Bruck, Clinical Professor of Law and Director at the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse about what the defense will try to accomplish, and how.

William H. Macy In Shameless
Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy is known for taking on complex roles: Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo, George Parker in Pleasantville, and Bobby in David Mamet's play American Buffalo. In the new Showtime series, Shameless, he's taken on another demanding role. He plays Frank Gallagher, a father of six children, who spends most of his evenings passed out drunk on the living room floor. Host Neal Conan talks with Macy about the unique challenges of his latest role, and his long career as a character actor on the stage and the screen.

Death Detective Dysfunction
Popular television shows like CSI and Bones depict forensic pathologists as champions of the dead, solving crimes with high-tech tools and specialized know-how. But the reality of death investigation in America is much different. A joint Frontline-NPR-Pro Publica investigation uncovered pervasive dysfunction in many death investigations. Many counties suffer from a shortage of trained forensic pathologists, chronic underfunding and a lack of federal oversight. Elected coroners, in many cases, have no medical background at all. Host Neal Conan talks with Lowell Bergman and A.C. Thompson, reporters for the joint series Post Mortem, and former Virginia State Medical Examiner Marcella Fierro about the pressing problems facing America's real-world death investigation system.

Spiderman The Musical
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the expensive and troubled Broadway musical, is still in previews. The official opening night has been pushed back several times due to technical glitches, but many critics bypassed Broadway protocol to release their reviews today. Neal Conan talks with a critic about their review of the show, and why they decided to review it during official previews.