Get to Know Joe Exotic, the Bad and the Awful, With Two New ID Specials

Annika Harris

Does Joe Exotic or Carole Baskin deserve to be in a cage? Two ID specials airing this month aim to answer that question.

Investigation Discovery (ID) is promising to give viewers a closer look into so-called Tiger King, Joe Exotic, with two new specials that will begin to air on Sept. 27th.

If you’re an animal lover like me, there’s a high probability that you had a difficult time watching Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness — the episodic documentary that triggered the fervor over Joe Exotic and his sworn enemy Carole Baskin. The early episodes of Tiger King focused too heavily on what should only be labeled as the abuse of wild animals for my tastes, and I didn’t finish the series, as a result. However, I’m still intrigued by the true crime aspect of the Exotic-Baskin saga. Fortunately, ID’s JOE EXOTIC: TIGERS, LIES AND COVER-UP aims to answer the two main questions that have arisen since Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin became household names: What happened to Don Lewis, Baskin’s husband, and is imprisoned Joe Exotic predator or prey? A second special, JOE EXOTIC: BEFORE HE WAS KING, will be a prequel to explain what happened in Joe Exotic’s life before he became the self-described Tiger King.

JOE EXOTIC: TIGERS, LIES AND COVER-UP, a three-hour, two-part special, will focus on retired homicide detective Jim Rathmann as he leads the investigation into Lewis’s disappearance, but will also feature exclusive jailhouse interviews with Joe Exotic himself. Rathmann will relive Lewis’s final days and gain a deeper understanding of the missing man’s demeanor through those closest to him. New theories will be uncovered, and criminal and legal experts will expose new evidence. In addition to uncovering what happened to Lewis, JOE EXOTIC: TIGERS, LIES AND COVER-UP also will delve into Joe Exotic’s conviction for murder-for-hire with interviews with his husband Dillon Passage, inner-circle, and “Team Tiger,” a group working to free Joe Exotic from prison. The first two parts of the special will air on Sunday, Sept. 27th, at 9/8c, and the special will conclude the following night at 9/8c.

Investigation Discovery

Airing immediately following the finale of JOE EXOTIC: TIGERS, LIES AND COVER-UP on Sept. 28th at 10/9c, JOE EXOTIC: BEFORE HE WAS KING will be the “definitive prequel” to the man who chose to in-breed and exploit wild animals for a living. A panel of forensic psychologists and law enforcement experts who have studied the case, including ID’s own Derrick Levasseur, will examine the childhood traumas and the important events that shaped the mind of the “Tiger King.” According to ID, “This comprehensive, one-hour special puts the entire salacious story in context and uncovers dark secrets about Joe’s past. Using exclusive and never-before-seen interview footage of Joe Exotic, including personal photos and home movies, we reveal the dark secrets that led to the colossal crash which has landed him in prison for decades. What sent Joe Exotic down the path of depravity, polygamy, live animal collecting and trading, and ultimately, conspiracy to commit murder?” The special will also include interviews with Joe Exotic’s inner-circle, like his imprisoned second husband Jeffrey CharlesJCHartpence. The one-hour special promises to present a “vivid portrait” of Joe Exotic’s spiral into madness.

“The bizarre and troubling saga of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin is, perhaps, one of the most convoluted mysteries ever revealed,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America, in press materials. “In these two specials, ID will take viewers through the complete story and determine who should really be in the cage.”

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