Evil Genius was an absolutely shocking true crime documentary. It’s about one of America’s most diabolical bank heists and the murder of Brian Wells. It’s often referred to as the “collar bomb” case. A pizza man, whom no one could tell if he was a hostage or an accomplice, lost his life when a collar bomb attached to his neck detonated after a bank robbery.
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong is the stories Evil Genius. She was treated 38 times for mental health issues and insists that she’s bipolar and refers to herself as manic depressive. She once told her therapist she was “scared of her mind.”
With all the documentaries intrigue and plot twists that kept me glued to the screen, I couldn’t help but feel upset about how they portrayed the villains, their crimes, and mental illness. I hated how the series relied on the Bipolar & OCD narrative as justifications for the unspeakable crimes. They try to pin multiple dead ex-boyfriends, a ticking time bomb, and attempted murder, on Marjorie being “disturbed” due to mental illness. Her evilness had nothing to do with her Bipolar. She was just EVIL. I found it to be a disservice for those successfully living with these disorders, like myself, who do not cause anyone harm.
In fact, when Marjorie was found guilty in 2003, the judge ruled that she had a long history of mental illness, but there are people with these conditions” who do not solicit to kill their fathers.” This scene was the only testament to her having real accountability despite the illness in the whole series.
Marjorie came from money, and her dad had stopped playing the role of the piggy bank, which became her motive to kill him. When she didn’t have the money to pay the hitman, she decided to rob the bank for the funds. And that became the motivation for this escalation of morbid crimes.
Obviously, Marjorie had a strained relationship with her father before this occurred as he felt she was a handful growing up. She was well known for her OCD and was committed to a mental institution four times. Her father felt that she didn’t have feelings, which means she was most likely a psychopath. However, the documentary didn’t delve into the psychopath narrative and discussed her Obsessive Compulsive behavior more. I have OCD, but I do things like keep my purse off my bed and over-clean my phone case. Again, OCD and Bipolar were given a spotlight for a crime that wasn’t correlated to those symptoms. Outrageous – but so typically Hollywood.
After I finished watching the series, I just chalked it up as yet another example of trying to frame mental illness as the driving factor for dark and violent crimes. It was a lazy narrative about a conniving violent woman with no empathy. I only wish there was more accountability for her actions rather than the mental health blame game.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.
Photo Credit: Netflix