Is True Crime on Paramount+? Check Out ‘For Heaven’s Sake’
True crime fans are well-served in the modern streaming landscapes. Once the purview of obscure forums and the odd podcast, true crime documentaries are now major drivers of traffic for big services like Netflix and HBO.
Paramount+ is the latest big entrant into the streaming wars, even though it’s actually just a rebranding of CBS All Access with a hugely expanded content library. Looking to get eyes on its product, the service wisely debuted with a new true crime docuseries. It isn’t your typical series, either, as it mixes in a genre few would ever associate with violent crimes and tragic mysteries: comedy.
Where to watch ‘For Heaven’s Sake’
For Heaven’s Sake is an eight-episode true crime docuseries that premiered alongside Paramount+ on March 4. It’s a co-production between the streamer and Canada’s CBC, and it concerns an investigation into the disappearance of Harold Heaven in 1934.
Heaven vanished one night from his cabin in Haliburton County, a very rural area in Ontario. The items left behind suggested that he left in a hurry and neighbors reported that he had been mentioning strange noises around the cabin at night before the night in he disappeared. After a lengthy search, the local authorities wrote the case off as a suicide, but 85 years on, no body had been recovered.
Being an extremely tight-knit group, the Heaven family had maintained interest in the disappearance over the decades. Around 2019, this led Mike Mildon, a member of the family, to renew the investigation into the cold case alongside his friend, Jackson Rowe.
The only catch? They don’t really know what they’re doing.
‘For Heaven’s Sake’ is a funny show in the dead-serious true crime genre
For Heaven’s Sake was produced by Funny or Die, the popular and trailblazing online sketch comedy site. That ought to tell you everything you need to know going in. Mildon and Rowe have worked for the site in the past, and at one point in the series, explained their bona fides by showing interviewees one of their lewder sketches, “Pee is for Professional.”
While For Heaven’s Sake is a real documentary about a very real cold case, the essential comedy comes from the investigation being headed up by complete amateurs and true crime fans. Mildon’s family members also frequently tell him to his face in interview segments that they have zero faith in his ability to uncover anything.
A lot of the comedy early on comes from Mildon and Rowe self-consciously trying to recreate true crime tropes. When first going over the facts of the case, they repeatedly worry about their chalkboard covered in photos and documents looking good, especially once they cover it in red string. The pair also geek out about the chance to use a drone to capture moody wilderness footage, which goes haywire at one point due to a surprise dog.
In one of the biggest meta-references for true crime fans, they later attempt to ply an interview subject with a close connection to the case with several bottles of water. The hope is that he’ll eventually have to go use the bathroom and confess something while still on-mic, a la, the infamous moment from HBO’s Robert Durst docuseries, The Jinx.