Exclusive: Cast and crew of Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands discuss trailblazing true crime podcast

New York, New York - TAG24 went behind the scenes of the chart-topping historical true crime documentary podcast Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands to get insight on the show from its cast and crew.

Writer and director Allison Flom (l) spoke with TAG24 NEWS about her influential new podcast, Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands.
Writer and director Allison Flom (l) spoke with TAG24 NEWS about her influential new podcast, Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands.  © TAG24 / Kelly Christ

Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands is a chart-topping historical true crime documentary podcast directed, written, and narrated by Allison Flom.

The series features numerous historical re-enactment scenes starring the likes of Allison Williams, Tony Goldwyn, Barry Scheck, and more.

"I've been working on this for so many years, and the biggest thing for me was re-writing and correcting history, finding a story that has been eviscerated and told the wrong way that has been hidden in one big narrative that I've been told and finding ways to tell it," Flom told TAG24 NEWS in an exclusive interview at Wednesday's launch event in New York.

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"[This experience] has illuminated for me that everyone should be telling stories that we want to be in the public consciousness – otherwise, they get erased."

Producer Michael Novick added that the name of the show, Erased, could also lend itself to an anthology format as there are countless other forgotten stories of women in history deserving of their moment in the spotlight.

The origins of Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands

The cast and crew of Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands discussed the lasting influence of the story with TAG24 NEWS.
The cast and crew of Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands discussed the lasting influence of the story with TAG24 NEWS.  © TAG24 / Kelly Christ

The inception of the podcast goes back to Flom's days as a tour guide in the Big Apple. Executive Producer Kevin Wortis told TAG24 how the writer and director "was a tour guide... going around New York City pointing out historical landmarks and [noticed] this well in the basement of what's now COS."

When Flom looked into the history of the well, she realized that Sands' story needed to get out to the world. Her role as narrator in the podcast can be traced back to these early tour guide origins as she walks listeners from scene to scene, translating and contextualizing for modern audiences along the way.

Seven years before it was a podcast, Erased started out as a screenplay – which was still being workshopped when the pandemic hit. "When COVID came, we had to think of another way to try to tell stories and... get Allie's work out into the world," Novick said.

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While Flom initially pictured the story in a visual medium, she felt there was a sense of urgency in getting Sands' story out there. "This story really needed to be told right now, so we kind of responded accordingly and figured out in the pandemic what's the fastest, most direct way that we can tell this story," she explained. "Setting it up with tons of actors like a radio play... really worked!"

Why the urgency? For one, there's "the Burr-Hamilton thing," as Novick calls it. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton's involvement in the story, amid the Hamilton Broadway musical global success, further proved that "the historical significance of [their involvement] cannot be ignored."

"These guys are essentially taking this constitution, which they just wrote, for a test drive," Novick continued. "Like, OK, how's this gonna work now that we actually have a case?"

Hamilton and Burr essentially "codified gaslighting," cast member Jordan Schroeder added cheekily.

The cast and crew of Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands attended Wednesday's premiere event (from l. to r.): Allison Flom, Maxwell Whittington-Cooper, Tony Goldwyn, Barry Scheck, Allison Williams, Jason Flom, Khaliah Ali, and Jeff Kempler.
The cast and crew of Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands attended Wednesday's premiere event (from l. to r.): Allison Flom, Maxwell Whittington-Cooper, Tony Goldwyn, Barry Scheck, Allison Williams, Jason Flom, Khaliah Ali, and Jeff Kempler.  © TAG24 / Kelly Christ

Allison Williams uses her platform to champion the forgotten story of Elma Sands

Allison Williams executive produced Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands along with lending her voice to the role of Catherine Ring.
Allison Williams executive produced Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands along with lending her voice to the role of Catherine Ring.  © TAG24 / Kelly Christ

The crew was quick to praise Allison Williams' contributions to the project. The Girls alum lends her voice to the podcast in the role of Catherine Ring, but the actor is also an executive producer on the show.

"Allie Williams was the first to jump in with both feet - never hesitated," Novick said. "I think one of the things that was incredibly rewarding about her – not just her performance and the way she presents herself and leads a cast – but also her willingness to... recognize the historical importance of the 'why here and now?' part of this story."

Flom also gushed about Williams, noting that both Allisons are "obsessed with history and women's stories."

"I feel so grateful for Allison – but [also] for the whole team!" the director added.

Erased: The Murder of Elma Sands is now streaming everywhere podcasts are available, with new episodes coming out every Wednesday!

Cover photo: Collage: Lava for Good & TAG24 / Kelly Christ

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