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Tamron Hall's New True Crime Series Highlights Victims Of 'Someone They Knew'
“You always wonder when you see these stories, how did it turn to this?” asks Tamron Hall. “Did the person not see any other alternative?”
Hall is telling us about her new true crime series on Court TV called Someone They Knew, and that question, of how someone could be driven to harm someone they know, is what the Emmy Award-winning talk show host seeks to help answer on it.
The series, which made its debut March 6, tackles stories with a unique connection: the victim of a crime knew their killer. The killer was driven by common feelings that they lost control over, including envy and greed. Hall tells ESSENCE that in covering these types of cases for the show, she often thinks of loved ones like her friends.
“At any point, any of us could fall in love or befriend another adult who doesn’t mean well by us,” she says. “With this show, the person’s in the house. It’s not the person lurking in the garage. This is level one of your home. That is so fascinating and eye-opening.”
She also thinks of her sister, Renate. She was murdered in 2004 and experienced domestic violence. The only person of interest in her case was someone she knew, and that individual was not charged in her death. Instead of harping on whether or not justice will be served, Hall became motivated to highlight the stories of people like Renate, first through her long-running series Deadline: Crime, and now through Someone They Knew.
“I never want someone to believe that these shows don’t have a purpose,” she says. “This is not just for us to sit on Sunday, turn on our TV, and ooh ah at someone’s tragedy. Not at all. There’s a connective tissue with all of these stories and even with my sister’s case, where you ask yourself, What causes someone through greed, jealousy and envy to carry out such acts, and what can we learn from these things?
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We talked with Hall about this latest project, the “deeply personal” connection she has to the cases she covers on it, and how she keeps Renate in mind as goes after her goals and highlights the stories of Black women.
ESSENCE:We all know you as a talk show host. But in the past you hosted Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall on ID, and now you are doing Someone They KnewWith Tamron Hall on Court TV. Why are these passion projects important for you to see through?
Tamron Hall: I think it’s a part of why I became a journalist to be honest with you. It’s to be able to give people the opportunity to tell their stories. And those stories are all too often, particularly when you’re a reporter and as I started out, a reporter who covered crime, linked to tragedy; but they can at the same time be empowering and be inspiring to see how people fight for justice for their families. They can also be enlightening. When people ask me why do I think crime shows like Deadline Crime that was on for six seasons or Someone They Knew are so popular, I believe people think to themselves, could this be me? Could this be someone I know or someone I love? I think these shows hit a nerve in this way.
For me, I’ve talked publicly with ESSENCE before about the loss of my sister. Obviously it became deeply personal, these kinds of stories. But from the very beginning of my career as a journalist, I felt that having the opportunity to sit with people and let them talk to you about their journey, the good, the bad, the sad, is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. That’s why these types of shows have appealed to me over the years.