Steve Lillebuen. Journalist.

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Ratings: Dateline’s Deadly House of Cards

July 20th, 2014 · By Steve Lillebuen

It looks like Dateline NBC’s rerun of “Deadly House of Cards,” which featured my narrative non-fiction book on the Mark Twitchell case, has resonated with millions of people.

Preliminary ratings data has placed the two-hour special at the top of the list for Saturday night US broadcasts. And many viewers shared their reactions about the case on social media:

Some viewers were shocked by the connections between the real-life serial killer investigation and both Hollywood and the Dexter television series.

This is an angle I explored in-depth while researching and writing The Devil’s Cinema. Last night, I also shared this excerpt from a prison letter Mark Twitchell sent me, where he responds to my questions about his links with Dexter and his crimes.


Mark Twitchell has always denied that he is a murderer. It’s clear from this letter that he also seeks to downplay his fascination with Dexter too.

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Dateline NBC: Deadly House of Cards

July 19th, 2014 · By Steve Lillebuen

Wannabe serial killer Mark Twitchell remains a topic of great interest with Dateline NBC revisiting the case in a rerun of “Deadly House of Cards” this Saturday evening.

I was interviewed at length about my research into the case for the two-hour special, but couldn’t share any of the exclusive details. Instead, that information all ended up in The Devil’s Cinema, my narrative non-fiction account of the entire case and trial.

There have been a few developments since the episode first went to air. No word yet on if this is simply a rebroadcast or if the producers are tacking on an update at the end of the episode.

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Dexter’s fate: Canadian connections?

October 9th, 2013 · By Steve Lillebuen

Dexter Morgan’s final resting place revealed in the series finale stunned a lot of fans, but was the controversial twist ending also a veiled reference to Mark Twitchell — a convicted killer who replicated the show in real-life?

The ultra-violent Showtime television series concluded its eighth and last season with a bizarre final scene that nobody was expecting (warning: spoilers ahead).

In short, Dexter survives sailing into a hurricane and turns up looking like some kind of lumberjack, hiding in a cabin in the wilderness. He has a big beard and is wearing flannel.

The ending stirred up stereotypical images of Canada and fans across social media were quick to point out that silly connection:

And that Monty Python song:

Of course, Mark Twitchell, who built his own Dexter-inspired kill room and assumed the fictional serial killer’s identity online, is from western Canada. He is also a big fan of Wolverine, the Marvel character who once worked as a Canadian lumberjack.

Mark Twitchell, known as the "Dexter Killer," dressed up as Wolverine for Halloween.

Mark Twitchell, known as the “Dexter Killer,” once dressed up as superhero Wolverine (in flannel) for Halloween in Canada.

Is there some kind of Dexter-Lumberjack-Wolverine-Twitchell connection here? Did the show finally acknowledge the “Dexter Killer” case in this round-about way after declining to provide in-depth official comment on the convicted murderer for several years?

There is some evidence to back up this wild theory.

Scott Buck, who co-wrote the final episode, has given Dexter fans a bit of a hint on what he was really thinking when filming that controversial last scene.

[Read more →]

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