Brad Meltzer Brad Meltzer

From searching for the Freemasons' involvement with the long-missing White House cornerstone to discovering the truth behind the curious death of explorer Meriwether Lewis, best-selling novelist Brad Meltzer and his three-person team of investigators travel the country to solve American history's biggest mysteries in Brad Meltzer's Decoded (Thursday, 10/9c, History). In the process, they do something Meltzer considers even more important — "Bring alive what history is."

TV Guide Magazine: What would make for the ideal episode of Decoded?
Meltzer: It would be real, not something that's been done 5,000 times. Other shows might do a Freemason episode, but they'd have a voice-over saying, "The Freemasons will be eating your babies tonight" and end with scary music. When we do it, we go straight to Freemason headquarters and get answers.

TV Guide Magazine: Do you have any favorite cases you've worked on?
Meltzer: I'd heard the story that John Wilkes Booth actually lived long after people thought he had died, and that there was mummification of the body involved. If you say the words "John Wilkes Booth" and "mummy" in the same sentence, you've got me. When you see his family look into the camera and say, "My great grandmother told me he lived years after he was supposedly dead," trust me, you'll never look at that story the same way again.

TV Guide Magazine: You make the series sound like the best history class ever.
Meltzer: Four days before the show premiered, a kid in high school wrote to say that he was the only one in his class who likes history. He'd only seen the promos but wanted to thank me for the show. The fact that some kid who'd felt alone with his passion for history but didn't anymore... That meant a lot to me.

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