DETROIT — As we thought would be the case, the PBS show Tuesday night on Jimmy Hoffa — “Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?” – didn’t crack the case as the pre-show hype suggested it might. And it certainly didn’t leave you feeling as if you knew what really happened to the Teamster boss.
It was entertaining, but a little cheesy, particularly for a PBS production.
Retired FBI Agent Greg Stejskal, who was interviewed in the show, told ticklethewire.com after the show that he thought it was full of “a lot of speculation” and “I thought pretty far fetched as far as some of the connections they made.”
“There’s a lot of information there,” he said. “But I thought they took a lot of literary license making things fit together that didn’t necessarily fit together and basically ignored things that would have argued otherwise.”
The PBS website hyped the upcoming show:
For decades, investigators have searched for clues about what happened to Hoffa and why. Was he murdered? If so, who wanted him dead? After serving prison time for conspiracy and fraud, Hoffa was pardoned by President Richard Nixon. What interest did the White House have in Jimmy Hoffa?
Recently declassified government files reveal shocking evidence of corruption at the highest levels. Interviews with a former mob lawyer, a murder witness, and an FBI agent are among the sources History Detectives unearth as they track Jimmy Hoffa’s final hours and answer the question: “Who killed Jimmy Hoffa?”
The show gave a lot of weight to a death bed confession of Frank Sheeran, a friend of Hoffa who was described as a hitman. Sheeran said he killed Hoffa at a home in Detroit.
Stejskal said the FBI investigated and was dismissive of his claims.
It also talked about President Richard Nixon possibly taking mob money, something that had reported in the past.
David Ashenfelter, a former Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reporter, and a Pulitzer prize winner, who was interviewed in the show, told ticklethewire.com:
“I think Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance remains a mystery. I found the archival footage very interesting. I enjoyed the program.
“I thought they covered all of the major leads and brought a younger generation up to date on one of the biggest mysteries of the 20th Century,” he added. “But as it always turns out in the Hoffa mystery, we don’t know much more than we knew when the FBI wrote the Hoffex Memo six months after Jimmy Hoffa vanished.”
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