Wrong Man episode 2 recap: ‘Evaristo Salas: The Informant’


Episode 2 of Wrong Man demonstrates the show’s potential to bring about justice, as investigators Ira Todd and Joe Kennedy unveil shocking truths about the Salas case.

In the previous episode of Wrong Man, doubts were cast on the case against Evaristo Salas — a teenager arrested for murdering Jose Arreola. Questions were raised about conflicting witness testimony and a mysterious informant.  Also, Jose’s then-girlfriend, Ofelia, is said to have cleaned the truck Jose was murdered in — thus potentially destroying evidence!

The second episode goes further, detailing the strange circumstances of Sunnyside Detective Jim Rivard. Did Rivard have anything against Salas? Did Rivard build a solid case against him? Not really.  In fact, Wrong Man suggests that Salas was probably railroaded.

Related Story: Wrong Man series premiere recap: ‘ Evaristo Salas: The Letter’

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Who is The Informant?

Given how important the informant was in convicting Evaristo Salas, it’s interesting how much credibility he apparently lacked. The informant, known as “Bill,” was cited as someone who “kinda’ knew what was going on in that town.” That’s all well and good, but couldn’t that be said of a lot of people? Also, does that mean he has an all-seeing eye? It’s doubtful. More to the point, when he was on the witness stand, he himself stated he suffers from “CRS,” or “can’t remember s***” syndrome. In other words, he devalued himself as a credible witness!

How was Evaristo Salas “Caught?”

As the episode progresses, the case looks not only stranger but much flimsier. Salas became a suspect 6 months after the murder when he was brought in on unrelated charges. By this point, the Arreola case — which was Detective Rivas’ first murder case — had grown cold. Frankly, it sounds like Rivas felt pressure to solve it and establish his career, so he may have just pinned it on Evaristo Salas.

As Rivas says during an interview with Ira Todd and Joe Kennedy, he had randomly taken pictures of Evaristo — for reasons even he didn’t understand. Then, as if compelled by mysterious forces, he showed the photographs (in a suspect photo collage) to Arreola’s girlfriend, and she pointed to him as the killer. No matter how one slices it, that sounds like some unique (if not extraordinary) circumstances. What are the odds?

Photo Credit: Starz

Ira Todd’s Big Question

When discussing the case, Detroit Detective Ira Todd repeatedly asks his subjects:
Would you feel comfortable with your son sitting in jail based on 2 witnesses? It’s a brilliant yet simple question. It potentially makes the case personal, yet anyone can see its logic. Surely, it’s easier to build a case against someone you’re distant from, based on flimsy and contradictory evidence. However, if you know and love the person, you might have the very opposite reaction!

No Reason To Lie?

Rivard insists that his star witness “had no reason to lie.” That is yet another bold, unsubstantiated claim. In fact, how does one even know that? Was the informant seriously investigated for credibility? How does one know someone — and I mean anyone — has no reason to lie? In fact, this episode explodes that myth entirely.

Bill himself contacts Wrong Man via Facebook, emphasizing that he fears retaliation for talking to them. When Ira Todd finally meets him, Bill admits he didn’t witness anything.  He recants his previous testimony and claims “the kid is innocent.” He then takes and passes a polygraph on the subject. Then Bill admits that Rivard pressured him to tell a false story.

If that’s not enough, Bill claims that a man named Ricardo approached him on the street once, thanking him for helping him get away with murder!

Rivas’ Reaction

When confronted with the new information, Rivard repeatedly emphasizes the words, “If Bill lied…” To me, it sounds like a way to take the heat off of himself. Oddly enough, though, it still wouldn’t do that. If his own detective work relied solely on one person’s testimony, the onus of responsibility isn’t solely on the witness. It also would lie with those who gave him/her undue credibility. Obviously, they would have at least some of the blame, especially if someone is wrongly convicted based on the case that they built!

Also, Wrong Man catches Detective Rivas in another lie. Rivas claimed he didn’t know where Bill lived, even though he did. The detective’s excuse? He was trying to protect Bill! Furthermore, when talking more with Ira Todd about the flimsy case, Jim Rivard actually says, “It isn’t a perfect world, Ira.” (No, I am not making that up. Watch this episode yourself!)

As if representing Rivas’ quote, Ofelia and the Prosecutors declined to be interviewed.

Closing Thoughts

Not everyone claiming innocence is actually innocent. However, sometimes they clearly are. This is a case where someone may very well be innocent. In a court of law, this translates into reasonable doubt — which means there wasn’t enough evidence to convict, which means the case merits further investigation.

Indeed, if new evidence can be brought forward, it ought to be. As Evaristo himself says, a wrongful conviction is also a wrongful acquittal. If someone’s wrongfully incarcerated, the person who actually did it isn’t being held responsible.

Next: Wrong Man episode 3 recap: ‘Curtis Flowers: Trial and Error'

This is exactly why, toward the end of the episode, a pro bono Appellate Lawyer expresses interest in the case. The information gathered by Wrong Man itself functions as evidence. In other words, this is definitely a show of some merit!

What do you think? Did they imprison the wrong man? Let us know in the comments!