5 Lessons We Learned From Candice DeLong & 'Deadly Women'

She said she feels confident she and the production team will never run out of cases to feature on the series.

June 17, 2021
By: Catherine Townsend

ID addicts often refer to former FBI profiler Candice DeLong as "a real-life Clarice Starling." But the host of Deadly Women has faced off with far more serial killers than her fictional counterpart.

During her 20-year career with the FBI, DeLong has helped catch child molesters, gotten cooking tips from the Unabomber, and posed as a madam to help bust a call-girl ring. She wrote about many of these experiences in her book "Special Agent: My Life on the Front Lines as a Woman in the FBI."

Watch every season of Deadly Women on discovery+ now!

From black widows to the thrill killers, DeLong continues to be fascinated by the twisted motives of the women featured on "Deadly Women."

After multiple seasons of the series, here are five things we've learned from DeLong through her work on the series.

DeLong Has Long Challenged The Myth That "There Is No Such Thing As A Female Serial Killer"

DeLong told Investigation Discovery that when she was starting out at the FBI, many people believed that serial killers were extremely rare — but over the years, she has seen many examples.

She said she and the production team for "Deadly Women" come across many stories of female serial killers and her favorite cases are often historical.

"One day an instructor came in, looked at the class of 60 profilers in training and said, 'People keep asking why we're only talking about men ... there's no such thing as a female serial killer.' All I tell you is he obviously didn't have my research team," she told Investigation Discovery. "Because there [are] plenty of them."

Information Is Power

DeLong, who grew up in Chicago, started her career as a psychiatric nurse.

During this time, she worked in a maximum-security ward. Her work there exposed her to many violent patients, including killers. These incidents helped shape her future career path.

“Psychiatric nurses have to be good at talking and listening. You’re dealing with people at their worst, helping them find answers, and periodically dealing with unexpected events, sometimes violence,” DeLong told The Bulletin. “That’s like being a cop or a detective. So it wasn’t that much of a stretch for me.”

DeLong continues to promote this philosophy through her work on "Deadly Women."

When It Comes To Murder, Men & Women Often Have Different Motives & Methods

While men often kill out of anger, according to DeLong, women's motives can be much more complicated.

One of the major life events that can propel a woman toward murder, DeLong said, is a prospective divorce.

"Divorce is messy, dirty, and embarrassing for some people," DeLong told Fox News. "And, in some cases, divorce is simply a sin in the eyes of God. Murder just solves a lot of those problems. Of course, when they come to this decision, they always expect to get away with it."

From the woman who ran her husband's business into the ground before having an affair and hiring a hitman to the wife who staged a murder to cash in on life insurance, "Deadly Women" covers several instances of women who hatched elaborate premeditated plans to kill their spouses.

She told Fox News she feels confident she and the production team will never run out of cases to feature on the series.

She Thinks Most People Are Not "Born Evil"

Despite their near-constant presence in popular culture, DeLong points out most people who murder are not serial killers. She also said the majority of people who kill believe they have a compelling reason.

"Very, very few people are born evil," she told Fox News.

"Somebody can become evil and do bad things because of circumstances, treatment as a child, and experiences, which can lead them to become a killer," DeLong continued. "The vast majority of people serving time for murder in the United States were normal people like you and me who, for whatever reason, whatever situation they were in, ended up with them killing someone. That was, for them, the best way to deal with the problem. Of course, it didn't work out. They got caught."

But there are some exceptions, according to an interview DeLong gave The Bulletin. She said that, while many sociopaths suffered physical neglect or abuse as children, psychopaths, in her opinion, "lost the DNA dice-toss."

"They're born with a gene where they have no empathy for others," she said. "If they can get away with something they will. They'd rather be crooked than straight. These are the people that will see a wallet sitting on the table, snatch it, and they've already got $500 in their pocket. They're born that way."

DeLong's Research Puts Her In A Unique Position To Offer Useful Dating Tips

DeLong told PopCulture.com that she believes that many female ID viewers watch her shows in part so that they can learn how to identify potential red flags.

“You want the true story of someone who did something you’d never even consider," DeLong told the website. "You want to know you could spot a con woman or a con man when they're standing right in front of you."

"I've been this way since I've been a young girl — the more knowledge, the more education I had about people who could hurt me, the better off I am," she said.

In an interview on AshleyPapa.com, she recommends doing a pre-date Google search to verify the information a potential love interest gives you. She also suggests meeting in a public place.

"Remember, everyone's nice on the first date — even psychopaths," DeLong said.

Next Up

6 Things To Know About Aileen Wuornos

Wuornos, a former sex worker, claimed that her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her, and her serial killings were committed in self-defense.

Prolific Serial Killer Nurse Charles Cullen May Have Killed As Many As 400 Patients

The murderer’s 16-year medical career in New Jersey and Pennsylvania ended after he was arrested in 2003.

A Texas Serial Killer Left His Victims Without Their Eyes

From 1990 to 1991, the city of Dallas, Texas was gripped with fear after authorities linked two brutal and bizarre homicide cases.

Illinois Police Raced To Find A Vicious Serial Killer Before He Could Strike Again

There were already two unsolved deaths in Peoria County, Illinois, when detectives were notified of another body dumped in a field.

The Internet's First Serial Killer: John Edward Robinson, The 'Internet Slavemaster'

John Edward Robinson was sentenced to death for his reign of terror in Kansas City in the mid-'80s.

UPDATE: Suspected Stockton Serial Killer Arrested

Since April 2021, six men were fatally shot and one woman was shot and wounded in central California.

Man Who Searched ‘How To Be A Serial Killer’ Charged In Murder Of Missing Texas Woman

24-year-old Felicia Johnson was last seen getting into an Uber on April 16, 2022 after leaving a Houston club. In February 2023, her remains were found but her killer remains at large.

Suspected Texas Serial Killer Taunted Police, May Have Committed Multiple Unsolved Murders, Cops Say

Before his May 2023 arrest, police say Raul Meza Jr. “was ready and prepared to kill again, and he was looking forward to it.”

New HBO Max Series Explores The Mysterious Staircase Death Of Kathleen Peterson

The scripted limited series tells the story of Michael Peterson, his family, and the mysterious death of his wife, Kathleen.

Wendy Stephens, 14, Identified As ‘Green River Killer’ Gary Ridgway’s Youngest Known Victim

“How can anybody wrap their head around their daughter being killed by a serial killer?” the girl’s mother asks.