True crime, though a genre of fiction and film that’s been around in some form or fashion since the 20s, has exploded in popularity these last handful of years. Particularly with the smash-hit success of the podcast Serial, whose first season investigated the murder of a Baltimore teenager, people have been rabid in their crime consumption, from other true-crime podcasts like My Favorite Murder to Netflix docuseries like Making a Murderer and, most recently, Evil Genius.
Now, Investigation Discovery, a network that’s been around since 2008, has capitalized on the huge, dedicated fanbase of true crime obsessives—a demographic that happens to be mostly women – with IDCON. Last month, the $50 tickets to IDCON sold out in 24 hours, with the total proceeds being donated to New York’s Silver Shield program, which funds the educations of children whose parents are fallen police officers or firefighters.
As Refinery29 writer Leah Carroll pointed out, what’s unique about ID is that they were not only around years before the explosion of true-crime content in 2008, they also spotted early on the appeal of true crime to a female audience. In 2016, in fact, the channel was the second-highest-rated network among women 25-54. On social media, ID encourages fan interaction about shows like Wives With Knives and Poisoned Passions.
“Everybody has a grand unified theory about why true crime is so popular right now, especially among women,” Carroll writes. “Some say it’s representative of the years of systemic misogyny we’ve endured and that claiming the narrative of crime—especially the crimes committed against women—is actually empowering. But ID seems a lot less concerned with examining the motivations and nuances of the genre.”
She notes that many of the event attendees she talked to hadn’t watched Netflix’s crime documentaries nor listened to podcasts like My Favorite Murder. Instead, they seemed to be taken by the crime procedural style of ID shows and network stars like Joe Kenda, the detective star of Homicide Hunter. Kenda, Carroll says, always get the bad guys. In a time when the world seems constantly tumultuous—when there are mass shootings way too often and uncertain terror—perhaps we take some comfort in seeing the bad guys caught.