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A Reclusive Community’s Deepest Secrets are Revealed in This True Crime Podcast

The Prodfather, a hotly anticipated two-part bonus series from the team that brought you Over My Dead Body, debuts April 23.

In early 2019, the new podcast Over My Dead Body blew true crime fans away. This intense, twisted love/hate story kept listeners spellbound as they followed, in real time, the conspiracy that brought down a marriage, then a whole family.

In 2014, Dan Markel was shot execution-style in his own driveaway. His estranged wife, Wendi Adelson, soon came under suspicion. But the depth of the conspiracy to get rid of a troublesome husband went far deeper than any observer could have guessed.

Long before the murder of Markel, Adelson began researching options for removing herself from Markel's life. Markel, a lawyer, had meanwhile been working on a case against one mysterious man known as the "Prodfather". This intersection is where journalist and Over My Dead Body host Matthew Shaer first encountered the story of Markel and Adelson.

Shaer’s fascination with the Prodfather is easily understood. Rabbi Mendel Epstein earned his nickname from his menacing tool of choice–a cattle prod. But just what spurred Rabbi Epstein to wield his weapon? A recalcitrant Jewish husband. In the Orthodox community, a divorce may only be granted by the husband. If a woman’s husband is abusive or otherwise threatening, he may be unlikely to simply end the marriage and allow his victim to get away. This is where the Prodfather stepped in.

For decades, the Prodfather  allegedly beat, threatened, and blackmailed these husbands until they agreed to a divorce and set their wives free. Divorce lawyer by day, black-hat blackmailer by night, Epstein’s reputation spread through the Orthodox Jewish communities in New Jersey and New York.

Yet his story has never hit the mainstream–until now. The Prodfather, a two-part special series from the creators of Over My Dead Body and the team behind Dirty John and Dr. Death, hits the web April 23. Subscribe to Over My Dead Body via Wondery, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, or the podcast app of your choice to get this special spin-off delivered straight to your phone on April 23.

This post is sponsored by Wondery. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for The Lineup to celebrate the true crime you love.

Published on 22 Apr 2019

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