This excerpt from "The Setup: A True Story of Dirty Cops, Soccer Moms, and Reality TV" by Pete Crooks details Kenda's direct standpoint on Marino. There are other passages I don't relate here, covering Carl Marino's various personalities, such as a military history that never occurred.
The part directly concerning Joe Kenda and Carl Marino is as follows:
Marino plays a young version of Kenda in the re-creation sequences. Example: Kenda says, in voice-over narration: "I wanted to check the police report again, so I went back to my office and pulled the file." Then Marino is shown looking at a manila folder.
After setting up an interview through Investigation Discovery, I asked Kenda what he thought of Marino. Kenda said, "I've talked to him on the phone one time, for about ten minutes. You know what he told me? In the brief call we had, he told me he was a detective back in New York. I thought, 'You're pretty young to be a retired detective,' so I made a couple of calls. Turns out, he was a detention officer in Upstate New York."
Kenda had seen Marino on 48 Hours, and told me he thought Marino was "lying his ass off" on that show. "What was he even doing [working for Butler], where someone would give him drugs to sell?"
Kenda, who spent forty years interrogating liars, had an interesting take on Marino. "He's Walter Mitty," Kenda said. "He wants you to think he's this other guy, not the guy he really is. And if you say, 'No, you're not that guy, you're this guy,' he gets upset."
Sometime after my interview with Kenda, he had a chance to meet Marino in Knoxville, Tennessee, during production of Homicide Hunter's third season. Kenda posed for a few pictures with Marino, and "the two Kendas" filmed a behind-the-scenes video together. Kenda's experience meeting Marino in person was similar to that of retired FBI agent Chuck Latting.
"I met Walter Mitty," Kenda wrote. "He was quiet, nervous, and intimidated."
Kenda noticed that Marino carred a prop to the set to feel important. "He has purchased a director's chair, hardwood and canvas, looks pricey," Kenda wrote. "He has had a canvas support made and embossed with his name in white 4" letters on one side, and the other side reads LIEUTENANT JOE KENDA: HOMICIDE HUNTER in blue. Why don't I have such a chair?"