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Izhar Harpaz is the producer of this Friday's season premiere of Dateline, On the Outskirts of Town, with Andrea Canning. We caught up with him at his desk to get the inside scoop on the story. (Izhar's answers have been edited for length and clarity).
Dateline: Hey, Izhar. We know you’re producing this Friday’s Dateline. We have a few questions. How did you come across the case in this Friday’s report?
Izhar Harpaz, Dateline Producer: I think we’ve been following this story since it happened. When I really looked into it after the trial happened, I saw that there were a lot of questions and that there was a lot of mystery to it… It is really tough [to cover these stories] because you meet people who are sad and distraught and who have lost somebody really dear to them.
Dateline: Without giving anything away, tell us a bit about the story.
Izhar: I can tell you that it has a twist that nobody sees coming. It’s a small town murder-mystery. A young woman is found dead on the soccer field on the outskirts of town. And police think they have the killer, but it turns out they don’t…. And what happens at the end is pretty much unbelievable.
Dateline: What was the most unusual location you filmed at for this episode?
Izhar: We did go, obviously, to the soccer field where all this happens. There used to be a memorial there, and the flowers are there and wilted. And we shot there late at night, and it was really eerie. And you felt the presence of something. Where her life ended was not only cause for getting some filming done, but also some cause for reflection.
Dateline: What is the one clue we should be on the lookout for?
Izhar: There really is not “one” clue. It’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. There are 500 pieces, and both the police and the defense are trying to put it together.
Dateline: What’s the best thing about working on a story with Andrea Canning?
Izhar: I think it’s her passion for the project. You could see -- especially this project – you could see that she really felt for both families that were involved in this story. And you could see that she was personally invested in this. It’s a story about mothers, in many ways. And, with Andrea being the mother of five girls, there was some identification there. She really knew what questions to ask, and she knew how to relate. And she knew when to step back, and when to push forward. And knew how to investigate. And there was a sense of balance to it which I was really impressed with.