I was recently asked by a TV critic — who was preparing a review for the upcoming season nine of Deadly Women — if I had dreamed about becoming an expert on female killers when I was a little girl. I’ve been asked a lot of questions over the past nine years about the show, but that one was unique. I had not considered a career in the world of criminals, what little kid would? However, her question made me think, just exactly how did I become the “accidental profiler” of the baddest of the bad girls? And it was an accident.
All I ever wanted to be was a psychiatric nurse, and I had spent almost a decade working with mentally ill and emotionally disturbed people when the FBI recruited me. I initially had no plans to specialize in the analysis of violent, interpersonal crime, I just wanted to catch bad guys (and girls too). I really didn’t care much about the why behind their criminal behavior, just chasing terrorists and bank robbers and putting hand cuffs of them was fun enough.
Years later, while assigned to the Chicago division, I was trained by the Behavioral Science Unit in the fledgling art and science of criminal profiling, that enlightened me to the very darkest side of human nature, including serial rape, serial murder, pedophilia and crimes against children, ritualistic murder, and sexual fetishes so powerful that the beholder had no problem kidnapping (and sometimes harming) an innocent person to live out their fantasy. I learned about the psychology, motivation, and especially the behavior behind all kinds of violent crimes, but almost nothing about female killers. I recall in one lecture back in 1984 when the instructor began the class with the proclamation “There is no such thing as a female serial killer!” I had no proof that he was wrong because I hadn’t studied the subject myself, but his statement did give me pause.
Fast forward twenty years to 2004 and the series premier of Deadly Women on the Discovery network. Now, after 8 seasons, all I can say is,
“It’s too bad the FBI didn’t have access to our incredible research team!”
If you’re an ardent Deadly Women fan then you know that throughout history there have been all kinds of female killers, including the serial kind that seemed so skillful in eluding the FBI.
Starting this Friday night you’ll see even more desperate, devious, and yes, deadly women on the season 9 premiere. It’s my job is to explain the behavior, psychology and the motivation of the women who’s stories we present.The reasons behind most murders are rarely simple and straightforward, especially when the killer is a girl or woman. When the headlines say “JEALOUS WOMAN KILLS LOVER’S WIFE,” you can be sure there’s more to it than that. If my ten years in clinical psychiatry and twenty years as an FBI agent taught me anything at all about killers, it’s that there’s always a back story. I think what makes Deadly Women so compelling is that we tell the whole story about seemingly normal women who became killers. Indeed, they were so normal that even their victims never saw them coming. So lock your doors, prepare the yummy bowl of popcorn, and above all, watch your back!
Watch a preview of the Deadly Women premiere: