Then Hollywood producer Dominick Dunne claims Anthony Pellicano talked him out of arranging a hit on the life of the man who murdered his daughter Dominique.
So the Vanity Fair special correspondent tells Kim Masters about those well-chronicled dark years after his daughter was strangled by her former boyfriend in 1982.
Dunne hired Pellicano to keep tabs on the killer.
But Dunne also reached out to the P.I. to help him put out a contract on the guy.
"I was nuts at that time with rage and hate that the guy who strangled my daughter for five minutes until she was dead got out in two and a half years," Dunne claims.
"I truly went through a period of wanting to hire somebody. I wanted harm to come to him."
Dunne didn't expect Pellicano to do the deed but to arrange it.
"He said something to the effect of, 'Dominick, you don't want to do this.'
I was willing to be talked out of it."
Years later, on the night before Pellicano went to prison for wiretapping and recketeering charges, Dunne, now a victims' rights advocate, got an unexpected goodbye call from the P.I..