"Had a little something to do with solving the Golden State Killer case."
That's just one humble little line from Paul Holes' Twitter bio. But thanks to the former cold-case investigator and forensic scientist's involvement in one of the biggest true crime cases in recent memory, Holes has developed a loyal cult following, with the fanbase using the #HotForHoles name, and the widely popular My Favorite Murder podcast helping establish him as an unlikely sex symbol, following in the footsteps of past true crime boyfriends, like the legal team from Making a Murderer season one, and the imprisoned man at the center of Serial's first season, Adnan Syed, the latter being a more controversial one for obvious reasons.
And now, Holes' appeal is going even more mainstream with the debut of The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes, his new true crime investigative series, on Oct. 12 on Oxygen, which will highlight the 51-year-old's relentless dedication to finding justice and closure for the victims and their loved ones in cold cases across the country.
After Holes was spotted by true crime fans in the background during the press conference announcing that a suspect had been apprehended in April 2018, the #HotForHoles hashtag was put to good use, with the retired Contra Costa investigator eventually taking to Twitter, which he had just joined, to address the unexpected fanfare.
"First, absolutely flattered by #HotforHoles," he wrote. "Some talent behind some of that artwork."
But the attention was earned and a long time coming, seeing as how Holes' investigation into the Golden State Killer case actually began decades prior, when he was in his 20s and working as a forensic toxicologist after just graduating from the police academy.
The case became a bit of an obsession for Holes, who eventually left the lab to become an active-duty cop. "I very quickly got more interested in the investigative side to the point where the other guys in the lab were saying, 'That's not your job,'" Holes told The Sacramento Bee.
His pursuit of justice in the headline-making case connected him with the late true crime writer Michelle McNamara, who passed away in 2016 before she could complete her best-selling book I'll Be Gone in the Dark, carried all the way through to his retirement in March 2018...just one month before Joseph DeAngelo was taken into custody and announced as the main suspect. Holes' fans were a bit upset he wasn't allowed to speak at the conference, given his huge role in the investigation, with crime journalist Billy Jensen saying on My Favorite Murder, "He is the superhero of this story."
But for Holes, he never imagined he would be in the spotlight.
"After I retired, we were close," he told The Sacramento Bee. "The guys that were active, that were a part of my team, basically kept me on as if I hadn't retired. When we finally got the DNA sample that showed he was the Golden State Killer, I was brought in. Even though I was a retired officer at this time, they brought me in. I helped write the arrest warrant…I also gave thoughts and ideas about interview strategies. In many ways, I'm very thankful they did that. Because I got a lot of satisfaction of being involved in that process when technically, they would have said, 'Nope, you're no longer part of us.'"
Still, that press conference marked a shift in Holes' public persona, with Holes saying on My Favorite Murder that the response has been "surreal," especially when he made an appearance at CrimeCon in New Orleans shortly after the arrest.
"I had no idea what I was walking into. It was great, but my first I guess experience I was walking in the hallway and it was late at night...this mother and daughter pass me by, didn't pay any attention to them. All of a sudden, I hear, 'Paul?' I look around and they're looking at me and that was the first time I had ever been recognized."
With fans—mostly female—asking for selfies and posting them all over social media, with Holes recalling to The Sacramento Bee, "They are all wanting to come up and get photos, but they are all super nice, and (it's) nothing overtly sexist, like all the sudden I am feeling like an object. Here I'm a 50-year-old-guy, but at the same time it is flattering."
The response was fit for a "rock star," his agent Jim Clemente said, noting his client is very easy to look at according to the roughly 3,000 female fans who showed up to the convention. (Listen, we're not saying the comparisons to Law & Order: SVU's Elliot Stabler are off-base!)
However, some of Holes' wife's friends were messaging her asking what was going on after seeing all of the photos on social media. "So I get the phone call, 'What's going on down there?'" he told My Favorite Murder.
But Holes clarified his wife loves all the attention he's been receiving, saying, "She's been a great sport about it. she's the one who's actually watching and letting me know...she's been great about it."
After DeAngelo was taken into custody, seemingly bringing the 20-plus year cold case to a close (the trial has yet to begin), Holes admitted to feeling a "void" in his life, so he teamed up for an investigative podcast with investigative journalist Billy Jensen called The Murder Squad before the debut of his Oxygen series.
"I wasn't on the hunt like I was before. And that's something I just need. That's part of what makes this podcast so exciting. We're going after these cases. I'm getting into the hunt mode again. It helps fill that void," he explained. "It's not the same, but it's at least something that I can grasp onto, knowing I'm still trying to help people get answers about their loved ones. It won't ever be the same, but this is why I keep going."
And it's why we can't get enough of Holes, even if he can't quite wrap his head around his new status as a true crime heartthrob.
"First, it's flattering. It's very nice that they look at me that way. But it's also very surreal. I'm just a retired county employee," he told Vulture.
The DNA Murder with Paul Holes premieres Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. ET on Oxygen.
(E! and Oxygen are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)