Scott Rolle, Brad Meltzer, Christine McKinley and Buddy Levy from...

Scott Rolle, Brad Meltzer, Christine McKinley and Buddy Levy from History Channel original series Brad Meltzer's "Decoded" Credit: Go Go Luckey

Hey, whatever happened to the original cornerstone of the White House, anyway?

And will someone please tell me where the hidden Confederate treasury is? And Lady Liberty - is it true there are some hidden messages strewn about the old girl?

Meltzer wants to know about all this stuff, too, and in this 10-part series, he's assembled a team to get the answers. They are Christine McKinley - simply identified as a "mechanical engineer," although Oregonians perhaps know her best as lead singer and band leader of Dirty Martini; Scott Rolle, a former state's attorney in Maryland; and Buddy Levy, a professor of English at Washington State.

Tomorrow night, the three pile into a car and head into the wilds of Washington, D.C., in search of a certain missing White House cornerstone, and those who likely pinched it.


"Brad Meltzer's Decoded" evokes "Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura," and I guess you don't have to be told that this is not the kind of evocation any show wants. Like "Conspiracy," "Decoded" has some howlers - all unintended - and some broadly questionable research and conclusions, all developed and pursued "in the moment," to give "Decoded" that sort of you-are-there-for-this-grand-adventure feel. Like Ventura's show, Meltzer's team even succumbs to flights of paranoid lunacy: Hey, what if the Masons stole the cornerstone as part of a centuries-long strategy for world domination? Or maybe Harry Truman made off with the bloody thing? (Oh, wouldn't that be just like Harry?) You suspect that beneath all this comedy is a good and interesting show that wants to break out. There are nine weeks to go. Maybe. . . .


"Decoded" is likable, but goofy. There are interesting facts and factoids here, but they are largely smothered under layers of pseudo-drama and faux research.



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