The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms

I recently happened across a bit of a great This American Life episode while driving, and later downloaded it and listened to the whole thing. Instead of their usual multiple-short-segments format, this episode is a single hour-long piece. It's totally worth listening to; if you haven't heard it, and if the title is sufficient to get you interested, here's a link: “The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms.” Tag line from the website: “What do you get when you take a P.I. firm, then add in a bunch of sexy soccer moms, official sponsorship from Glock, a lying boss, and delusions of grandeur?”

The whole story sounds like entertaining and mildly implausible fiction, but it's all true. It starts out with a reporter for Diablo magazine being asked by a private investigator to write a story about the P.I.'s approach, which had already been featured on a couple of major TV shows: he hired moms as P.I.s, because they were good investigators and easy to work with. The Diablo reporter goes on a ridealong to watch the moms in action, but before he can finish writing his article, he gets a mysterious email telling him that the whole thing was faked. And the story goes on from there, to get much weirder and more intense, with much higher stakes.

You can also read the magazine article that the Diablo reporter wrote: “The Setup.” It has some info and clarifications that aren't in the This American Life story, but I definitely recommend listening to the radio version first; there's a lot of amazing stuff that isn't in the Diablo story.

2 Responses to “The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms”

  1. irilyth

    > he hired moms as P.I.s, because they were good investigators and easy to work with

    This reminds me of an anecdote a Philosophy prof told a class I was in at Swarthmore: A Texas sheriff’s department had an ad for deputies, which included “PhD in Philosophy a plus” in the list of required and desirable experience. When asked about it, they said that they’d once hired a guy who had a PhD in Philosophy, and he was unbelievably thorough, meticulous, etc, and wanted to hire more people like him. :^)

    I like this idea of crossover skills in general. (And if I have a spare hour some time, I’ll listen to the story.)


Join the Conversation