In 1972, 5 year-old Adrien McNaughton disappeared while fishing with his dad and a friend of his dad’s at Holmes Lake in Eastern Ontario. There were no screams, there was no scuffle or splash, the boy simply disappeared. No trace of Adrien was ever found. Was he taken? Did he fall in the lake? Did he wander off? His family has never had closure, does not know if he is alive or dead. Someone Knows Something is producer David Ridgen’s exploration into this cold case.
Ridgen has a unique connection to the case-he actually grew up in the same town as the McNaughton family: Arnprior, Ontario. He moved there a couple years after young Adrien’s disappearance. He prefaces the series with an examination of why he, or anyone, is fascinated by cold cases. We think we can solve them! We’ve heard of that middle aged woman sitting at her desktop doing some remote forensics who actually found a clue and solved a cold case – couldn’t that be you or me? But for Ridgen, this is also just a genuinely captivating story with a personal connection that begs investigation.
Throughout the podcast we meet the captivating Canadian characters: the siblings who barely remember Adrien and who have traveled interesting paths in their lives, the friend who was there on the fishing trip but remarkably was never interviewed publicly about his recollection of the day, the still-broken parents who cling to hope after more than 40 years but at the same time have conflicting feelings about closure, the diver who searched the lake in 1972, and more area residents peripheral to the story. And throughout, Ridgen checks in personally with the audience about how he’s feeling about his investigation – it’s very appropriately done and does add an additional element to the podcast that I think is missing in similar shows in the genre. There are parallels to how Sarah Koenig discusses her feelings about the investigation she does into the Adnan Syed case in season 1 of Serial.
Each episode is between 25-35 minutes long, which is perfect to showcase the characters and build the story line. In episodes 5 and 6 the production team brings cadaver dogs out to the area of Adrien’s disappearance, and while episode 5 starts out a bit slow and with a bit of a misleading previewed gasp foreshadowing something the dogs fine, it becomes absolutely riveting as the episodes progress. You should listen to episodes in order, but once you get to episodes 5 and 6, the pace really picks up. It was at that point that I just couldn’t shut it off, I couldn’t believe how enthralled I was by listening to dogs pad around the woods near the lake where Adrien disappeared. Without revealing any spoilers, there is definitely enough material for a second season of this show as at the end of episode 11 the listener is left wondering when the team can put more plans into action.
I’m really excited to hear more shows from the CBC, because I am very impressed with the production value and sound mixing of this show. There are quite a few quiet moments in the show, which I find to be underrated and underutilized in podcasting. The website for the show could use a little updating, the timeline of the events doesn’t seem complete and I would like to see a map of the area, but I am glad there is a companion website that has more than links to the audio. Season 2 will debut in the fall of 2016 per Chris Oke, one of Someone Knows Something’s digital producers, and I’m excited to hear what comes next on this show.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss! Also subscribe to my twice-monthly newsletter!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (3 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (4 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (5 / 5)
Flow & Production Value (5 / 5)
Humor (3 / 5)
Investigation (5 / 5)
The production team got cadaver dogs to investigate this case. Enough said.
Storytelling (5 / 5)
Great storytelling that not only recounts history but also adds the present perspective from the family.
Makes Me a Better Person (3 / 5)
Bonus Stars: (1 / 5)
This show gets a bonus star for a reason I haven’t used often – it simply is the best podcast of this specific genre that I have heard in a long time. Sure, season 1 of Serial set the bar for examining a criminal case several years later, but I think Someone Knows Something succeeds because it makes your heart beat faster and is brutally honest without being shockingly over the top.
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (5 / 5)
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Serial, Finding Tammy Jo, Missing Maura Murray, Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder, Sword and Scale, My Favorite Murder
Someone Knows Something