Who Framed Elvis?

The increasingly strange saga of the Mississippi ricin investigation.


That Klinger! So wacky!

2013 was the year terrorism discovered that standby of the sitcom hack, the A plot/B plot structure. You break up the main narrative with a secondary storyline, and if the A plot is on the weighty, depressing side, the B plot is where you stick the comic relief. Hawkeye learns a somber lesson about love or war or something, and meanwhile Klinger discovers the hoola hoop.

In America right now, the A plot is the Boston bombings and the B plot is a wacky tale about Elvis killing the president. But he isn't really Elvis, the president doesn't die, and—this is the latest twist—it's starting to look like Elvis might have been framed.

For those who came in late: Last week the authorities arrested Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator in Mississippi, for mailing ricin to the president, a senator, and a judge. (There were no casualties.) This week they dropped the charges against Curtis, and Hazmat-clad investigators searched the home of Everett Dutschke, a musician, insurance agent, tae kwon do instructor, and accused child molester who apparently has a beef with the previous suspect.

I should stress that the police have not accused Dutschke of anything, and that we may yet learn that an entirely different person was responsible for the ricin. Indeed, the charges against Curtis were dismissed "without prejudice," which means that officials reserve the right to file them again. But for now, Curtis is enjoying his freedom and his lawyer is pointing her finger at Dutschke. From a report in Talking Points Memo:


At a strange, celebratory press conference after the charges against Curtis were dismissed Tuesday, his attorney Christi McCoy, suggested he was freed because investigators have moved on to "another suspect." Though she did not name this other suspect, McCoy said she believed investigators were still at Dutschke's home. McCoy first connected Dutschke to the case earlier this week when she suggested he was interested in framing Curtis for the crime because of a longstanding argument between the two men.

Curtis provided further details about the feud at the press conference when reporters asked him about his relationship with Dutschke. He claimed he did not know Dutschke well, but had received angry messages from him and heard indications from others that Dutschke had a major grudge against him. Curtis implied Dutschke may have developed these negative feelings towards him when they studied taekwondo together or because of his career as an Elvis impersonator. According to Curtis, one of the messages he received from Dutschke was an email saying, "I've created a band called Robodrum and we're going to throw you off the national circuit."

Dutschke has also run unsuccessfully for the Mississippi legislature, and at one point, according to the AP, he threatened to sue Curtis for claiming to be a member of Mensa. Meanwhile—how did I get this far without mentioning this part?—Curtis claims to have uncovered a "secret shadow government" that exists to conceal an "illegal organ harvesting market." In 2011 he issued an appeal to former Reason reporter Radley Balko to protect him from the conspiracy.

You know what? The A plot is depressing. The B plot is quirky and unpredictable and doesn't actually involve anyone dying. I like it better. Give it its own series, ideally starring Nicolas Cage.