'Unsolved Mysteries' Interview: Show Boss Breaks Down the Six New Cases

Unsolved Mysteries has been a huge hit for Netflix, with the true-crime show quickly becoming one of the streamer's most-watched shows of the year. It is no surprise, then, that they have released Volume 2 of the show a few months after the first batch of mysteries, ready for fans to try and solve this fall.

Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the show were filmed as one block, with the twelve cases split into two lots of six. This second batch, streaming now on Netflix, is the same combination of mysteries foreign and domestic, with Volume 2 continuing the tradition of the first set by having one supernatural episode.

Speaking to Newsweek of what fans can expect from the new episodes, Unsolved Mysteries executive producer Terry Dunn Meurer said: "We are always looking for a good balance of different kinds of mystery. In Volume 1 we had a murder case. We had an unexplained death case. We had a wanted case. We had a paranormal case and we had a missing case. And if you look at Volume Two, we have a murder. We have an unexplained death and actually an unidentified person. We have a paranormal case."

He added: "So, you get the point. We try and balance out the cases. We tried to try to put a variety of different kinds of mysteries in each volume."

The show creator broke down exactly why these six mysteries were chosen for the new season and gave a peek behind the scenes of each one in the first part of the interview below. In the second part, meanwhile, she revealed all the developments that have been made in the first six cases seen on the Netflix show.

Newsweek: Why did you decide to start Unsolved Mysteries with a high-profile case like the "Washington Insider Murder?"

Terry Dunn Meurer: We tend to profile mysteries that are not as high profile because the news media and a lot of other crime shows do the higher profile cases like Madeleine McCann.

So yes, John Wheeler is a high-profile case, but it's also a case that has not had a lot of publicity, and so we wanted to shine a light on that case and see if we can find out who killed John Wheeler.

In that case, some people would say: "Oh, he just got mugged or he just got assaulted on the street." But we do not believe that at all and neither do the police. Because people who insult people on the street, they do not go up the trouble to load him into a car and put them in a dumpster—John is a big guy.

Somebody did not want his body to be found and they came very close to succeeding because if John had come out of that trash truck at the bottom of that pile, his body would never have been found and we would be doing a missing person's case about him rather than a murder case.

unsolved mysteries volume 2
'Unsolved Mysteries' Volume 2 begins with the case of John "Jack" Wheeler. Netflix

NW: It is notable that the most high-profile case is the first one in Volume 2. How much thought goes into the order of the episodes?

TDM: It is diversity. So, we have a domestic story and the Jack Wheeler story is rather high-profile, so that went into the thinking of why we led with that story. And then "Death in Oslo" [Episode 2] was an international and we did not want to have two International stories back to back. So, we knew we had to separate those.

We usually do not start with a paranormal case. Usually, we do start with more of a crime case. So that is why the paranormal case is number four. Then we wanted to separate the Lester Eubanks from the missing kids in New York because those cases are very solvable. You look at every combination of stories. I guess we have been doing this so long that my brain just sees the mix of stories in a certain order. I do not know how to explain it.

We have an actual physical big bulletin board and we just put the stories up there as we would have for the original episodes, and just move them around. That is one of my favorite parts of the process. It is just very interesting. It is an instinctual thing after all these years.

NW: How do you choose between what is just an interesting mystery and one that needs to be an episode?

TDM: We look for a combination of international and domestic stories. So, in Volume 2, we actually have two international stories, one in Norway and one in Japan. That is always important. We look for some kind of geographic mix.

We also look for cases that are solvable. We have a huge number of cases that come into us, but for some of them there just are not any leads. There are not any theories that we can offer the viewers so that they can get engaged in trying to solve them. We do look at that as a factor and then diversity across the board, whether it is the age of the protagonist, race, culture, location.

We like to have a good mix that way. It is trying to make the episodes as diverse as they possibly can so that the viewers do not say, "oh, this seems like, this reminds me of that one, the other episode." We want them to all be very distinct. I guess one other factor is looking for stories that have twists and turns and a lot of dimension.

NW: How long does the average interview last with one of your talking heads?

TDM: We have done interviews that are five hours long and we have done interviews that are an hour long. Because we do not have a narrator, the participants in the story need to tell the story. They are the storytellers. So, we need to get every single detail from them that we possibly can. Dates, ages, distances from one location to another location, all the details, in addition to the emotional content of the story.

NW: And how do you separate between interviewees' valid theories and just speculation?

TDM: We try very hard to balance out the story. So, if it is a crime case, you have law enforcement speaking about what they think happened, and maybe a family member. And sometimes those two things do not line up. But we just try and present both sides of the case in as balanced the way as we possibly can and let the audience decide what they think. We do not do too much editing...well, we do a lot of editing, but we edit about in order to balance out.

unsolved mysteries season 2
Episode 4 of 'Unsolved Mysteries' Volume 2 tells the story of spirit sightings in Japan after a tsunami. Netflix

NW: Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix sets itself apart from other true crime shows by mixing true crime stories with more supernatural stories. Why was it important to you to include episodes like Episode 4, "Tsunami Spirits?"

TDM: We always try to include one of those as a more supernatural or paranormal story. So, it is just part of the mix that we have always had, whether it's a ghost case, or a UFO case, or about reincarnation, about people who have had past life experiences or Bigfoot and other creatures.

We do not think of ourselves as a true-crime show. We think of ourselves as a mystery show. So, we want to offer the viewers a whole gamut of different kinds of mysteries and certainly paranormal and supernatural Mysteries are part of that mix.

NW: What was it particularly about the "Tsunami Spirits" story that appealed?

TDM: We came across that story and we were just so moved by the experiences of so many people in that area where the tsunami was hit. We just felt like it was a very interesting phenomenon to explore in a documentary kind of way.

It was a challenge because culturally, I think people do not want to talk about this, the spirituality around it, and their experiences. But we work with Reverend Kaneta who was one of the key people in the episode, and he was very open to helping us and navigate the culture to find people who were willing to talk.

We called it "Tsunami Spirits" not "Tsunami Ghosts" becaus if you talk about ghosts, there is always this idea of unfinished business, but these are more restless spirits who cannot quite move on. That's just very interesting and tragic. The footage in that episode is just amazing. The stock footage of the actual tsunami. We were just moved by the situation and wanted to tell that story.

unsolved mysteries volume 2 episodes
Episode 6 of 'Unsolved Mysteries' Volume 2 focuses on the case of two "Stolen Kids" Netflix

NW: Have there been any leads in any of the Volume 2 episodes yet?

TDM: In this volume, there has really been no leads yet, but when you do a case like the Lester Eubanks case [Episode 3, "Death Row Fugitive"], there is a chance, especially if we shot over a year ago, that he could be found. You just never know. He has been out for thirty years, but it could be that one clue that comes in solves the mystery.

None of the missing kids [from Episode 6, "Stolen Kids"] have been found and we still do not have the identity of the woman in the hotel room in Oslo. Short answer is no. There have not been any clues that have come in on any of the cases from Volume 2.

NW: Do you think that any of these new cases can and will be solved?

TDM: Absolutely. There is a lot of these stories that could be solved. In Volume 2, especially the missing kids' cases. A lot of those kids' cases happened before 1990 when passports were not an issue, and nobody is going to question whether you are coming and going from the country with a child that maybe is not yours. And so there is a good chance that those two kids but also some of the kids in the roll call the that we do of all the other faces could be found. Those kids could be somewhere in another country.

Also, the reach of Netflix is awesome because if Lester Eubanks is in another country, we can find him.

Social media really got on board with trying to solve the first set of Unsolved Mysteries. Which cases do you think will generate the most interest in Volume 2?

I think the two that are going to be the most controversial and social media will be, "Death in Oslo" and also the "Lady in the Lake"[Episode 5], the unexplained death of JoAnn Romain. I think those two will have a lot of chitchat about those two.

Unsolved Mysteries Volume 2 is streaming now on Netflix