Crime

She was an FBI informant who was murdered. Now her story is an episode of a TV show.

Susan Daniels Smith was 27 and pregnant when FBI agent Mark Putnam strangled her to death on June 8, 1989, in Pike County.
Susan Daniels Smith was 27 and pregnant when FBI agent Mark Putnam strangled her to death on June 8, 1989, in Pike County. Police file/Family photo

The story of slain FBI informant Susan Smith of Pikeville will be featured on an episode of the new series “The Perfect Suspect,” which airs at 9 p.m. Thursday on Investigation Discovery.

The network says the episode includes interviews with Bert Hartsfield, a sheriff’s deputy in Pike County; retired FBI supervisor Jim Huggins, and Joe Sharkey, who wrote a book about the crime called “Above Suspicion.”

A movie by the same name was filmed in and around Lexington and Harlan in 2016 starring Emilia Clarke of “Game of Thrones” as Smith.

Investigation Discovery says “The Perfect Suspect” is “a psychological thriller,” “dissecting every deep, dark secret and looking into each suspect until they ultimately find a killer.”

Spoiler alert: FBI agent Mark Putnam, who had been having an affair with Smith, led authorities to a ravine in Pike County where her body was found. He pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree manslaughter in 1990 in connection with Smith’s death.

He said he strangled Smith, who had earlier told him she was pregnant, when she confronted him at a hotel in Pikeville, slapping him and threatening to expose their affair. Putnam was released in 2000 after serving 10 years in prison.

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