889 votes
Evil Genius

Evil Genius

Netflix 2018

This baffling true crime story starts with the grisly death of a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb around his neck - and gets weirder from there.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Evil Genius

Evil Genius - S1E1

#1 - Part 1: The Heist


Season 1 - Episode 1

On Aug. 28, 2003, a strange bank robbery in Erie, Pennsylvania, ends in a grisly, unpredicted manner as the perpetrator -- an amiable neighborhood pizza delivery man named Brian Wells -- dies when an explosive device locked around his neck detonates while news cameras are rolling. The case becomes FBI major case No. 203, and its many strange elements fascinate Erie: Wells' odd behavior that was captured on bank security cameras; a note Wells was carrying that was to lead him on a "scavenger hunt"; a subsequent death that seems as if it may be connected. But which of these are red herrings? And is there a "mastermind" behind the case? Then a tip is called in about a body in a freezer...

The episode was rated from 484 votes.

Evil Genius - S1E4

#2 - Part 4: The Confessions


Season 1 - Episode 4

An insider's confession reveals what really happened in the planning leading up to the bank robbery and Brian Wells' killing, and soon Marjorie is charged. The reason for the "pizza bomber plot" is laid out -- but controversy arises regarding Wells' involvement. Marjorie is eventually deemed competent to stand trial in "Erie's Trial of the Century." As co-director Trey Borzillieri's communications with Marjorie continue during her prison term, she reveals shocking aspects of the case. But her rants contradict a dramatic, eleventh-hour interview with someone whose testimony to the filmmakers spins the facts of the case completely around -- making for a shocking conclusion to one of the most extraordinary true-crime stories ever told.

The episode was rated from 346 votes.

Evil Genius - S1E3

#3 - Part 3: The Suspects


Season 1 - Episode 3

Marjorie, held at a prison in Muncy, PA, for the murder of James Roden, dangles information about the Bank Robbery case to the FBI in hopes of getting moved to a prison closer to Erie, but even with her mind games, the Feds develop information implicating Marjorie as a major player in the bank heist, along with several others: Rothstein, and Stockton, as well as a seedy local pimp and drug dealer -- and "fishing buddy" of Marjorie's -- named Ken Barnes, or, as he proudly calls himself, "Cocaine Ken." A connection between Barnes and the doomed bank robber/explosion victim Brian Wells is made. New eyewitnesses come forward who can place someone at a phone booth placing a call to the pizzeria where Wells worked. Co-director Trey Borzillieri begins an intense personal relationship with Marjorie Diehl to find out what she really knows about the heist. Then an astonishing development comes from inside prison walls.

The episode was rated from 378 votes.

Evil Genius - S1E2

#4 - Part 2: The Frozen Body


Season 1 - Episode 2

The body of a man named James Roden is discovered in a freezer. The FBI isn't sure yet if the corpse has a connection to the bank heist, but Roden does have a connection to Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, a local woman with multiple college degrees who was once considered one of Erie's "town beauties" -- but who in 2003 is known for her angry persona and public struggles with mental illness and a separate infamous murder case in Erie almost two decades years earlier. Interestingly upon being arrested for killing James Roden, Marjorie tells police they should focus on William "Bill" Rothstein, a former fiancé of Marjorie's whom she now calls "a filthy liar." Rothstein, raised rich in a prominent local family and an often-aggravating know-it-all who thinks he can outsmart anyone, actually contacts and meets with authorities -- and his presence in the case provides investigators with yet another person of interest: Floyd Stockton, Rothstein's former roommate who had been previously charged with rape. Then Marjorie makes a move.

The episode was rated from 405 votes.

Last updated: oct 12, 2021



Just a content warning for people like me who didn't know the details of this crime before watching: the first episode features explicit footage of a gruesome real life death. There is no cut-away and it isn't a recreation, but actual footage that shows someone dying terribly in real life. It would have been nice to know this in advance so I could have at least looked away. It's ethically extremely dubious to show footage of someone's final terrible moments for entertainment like this and of course also potentially deeply disturbing. Anyways, having only seen 1 episode so far, that is all I have to say at this point. Be warned. A less exploitative documentary would have cut away, this one does NOT.


Not much of detective work in this. pretty much witnesses / suspects trying to frame each other.


Lots of evil, not as much genius as acute megalomania. This documentary is a thorough (almost to the point of being tedious) examination of the personalities and circumstances surrounding a peculiar crime. I found myself unsettled by the narrow divide between genius and psychopath. I give this film a 7 (good) out of 10. [True Crime Documentary] Warning: There is some very graphic police footage of a person being blown up.


Good documentary, but it could have been done in 2 episodes or so.Anyway, interesting show. Twisted people, twisted people everywhere.


Netflix 4 parter produced by the Duplass brothers. Very intriguing. Absolutely nuts, but great tv. The story starts with the tale of a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb around his neck -- and gets weirder from there.'


When I watched Docu years ago before they had caught Diehl-Armstrong I thought it was obvious who was behind this (Not Ken Barnes as he was not mentioned in the 1st docu I watched, also thought it was clear Rothstien was in on it after what else went on around these pair it seemed very clear, but knowing/highly suspecting is differentthe police will have known who were suspects pretty quick but it is all about proof. Enjoyed this Docu had a lot of info but it could have been done in 3 parts or even 2 but as they do they drag it out (thats a money thing as we know).. Was good to learn of who else was invlolved as I did not know much about some of the others or had not even heard about them, I think most people who watched any docu about it before they were caught guessed Diehl-Armstrong and Rothstien wre right in the middle of this nasty crime. [spoiler]We will never know if Brian knew what was going on - my guess is he did but I do not think he thought the bomb was real he was that calm at 1st until he heard the ticking noise or whatever it was then you saw panic and a desperate man...[/spoiler] Watch if you like true crime docus just be warned part 1 as others have said is pretty graphic/disturbing in one part [spoiler]when the bomb go's off around Brians neck could shock some people (which I understand)[/spoiler].. Just give it a watch well worth it a bit dragged out like this comment..lol


My thoughts? Whoa, just whoa.


Very interesting story to follow. Different than Making a Murderer or the Staircase, this answers a lot of the questions that you have at first. I did find it a bit shocking that [spoiler] you actually see the footage of the bomb exploding and the frozen body, I didn't quite expect it to be so graphic, could do with a warning since it's real life and not fiction. It took me completely off guard. [/spoiler].


**a heads up: early on you see clear footage of the bomb on brian wells going off.** it isn't exactly graphic but it's certainly very startling. if you enjoyed vanished, you'll enjoy this. it's a story about the weird and bizarre circumstances surrounding two famous cases in erie and the accounts of those connected to them. that's where the value is -- not so much in the actual conclusions to the cases or the remaining, unsolved aspects. i like the personal anecdotes from the friends and family of the suspects and witnesses, and they're interspersed with interview footage and phone audio, as well as members of law enforcement recounting the case. all of the perspectives are really interesting; you just have to remember that the reason the whole story behind the crimes is so weird and complex is because the people involved are weird and complex. the crimes themselves weren't; they were just murders, plain and simple, and expecting anything more will make it hard to enjoy the story.


Interesting documentary...but did it really have to show the poor guy getting blown up. I personally believe Brian Wells was just indeed an innocent pizza guy and forced into the bank robbery by those criminal masterminds.

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