The former Mary Jo Buttafuoco, who now goes by her maiden name of Connery, will be featured on the 24th season premiere of "Snapped," Oxygen's long-running true crime series (Sunday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.). I spoke recently with Todd Moss, chief of programming for Jupiter Entertainment — which produces the series — about this latest in a very long line of documentaries on a crime that riveted Long Island, later the country, and (yes) Hollywood. It's been 26 years since Amy Fisher — not interviewed for this hour — turned up at the Buttafuoco's house in Massapequa. As Connery says in Sunday's season opener, “I was the biggest news in town that day. This was my journey, and during the course of it, I did a lot of things wrong, I made a lot of mistakes. I tried to do the best I can. Nobody told me, ‘OK Mar, this is what happens when somebody comes to the house and shoots you in the head.’ ”
Both Connery and Buttafuoco, long divorced, now live in California. Here's an edited version of my chat with Moss.
For the uninitiated -- which includes me -- what is the premise of "Snapped"?
The premise is sort of quote unquote normal women living normal lives who find themselves at the breaking point, and kill either a husband, or lover, or rival.
Why the Buttafuoco-Amy Fisher case again and why now?
Two things — it's the 25th anniversary of this [scandal] all taking place over several years [and] there's a certain nostalgia for these sort of cases. And there were the recent successes, like [FX's] "People v. O.J. Simpson," [the film] "Billionaire Boys Club" [which went into limited release on Friday], and [HBO's] "The Jinx." There's an appetite to examine these through the lens of time and more perspective. Plus, it was an effort to get her comfortable and wanting to be a part of this and tell her story.
Was she paid to do this?
No. Oxygen and NBCUniversal have a strict policy, and they don't pay people for their participation.
But she has spoken so many times about this. What's in it for her?
I don't want to speak for her but she views it as a cautionary tale. Mary Jo didn't commit any sort of crime, but left her husband after she realized you don't always know people the way they really are. This is [also] a story of how to overcome such a thing. People forget how horribly wounded she was. She had to get her life back together, and she believes there's something valuable to be gained.
I'm struck by the word nostalgia. Who in heaven's name would be nostalgic for this?
We are so inured and desensitized to a lot of what goes on [but] this was one of the first real tabloid stories of the modern era, and how it came about just as the 24-hour news cycle was getting underway. This was one of the first cases that captivated people.
Uh-oh, did I hear what I think I heard you say — that all these true crimes are being turned into movies or TV series and that, ipso facto, we might see a fictional miniseries based on this?
I can't speak to why certain [crimes] are fictionalized, but they are in the zeitgeist, and a lot of them [like the recent NBC series on Menendez brothers] sprang from that period
Did you reach out to Joey for this?
We had some issues.
What was one of them?
Money . . . He wanted compensation.
We reached out to her a couple of times and she said please don't contact me again . . . Money was not an issue.