Imposter: The Man Who Came Back from the Dead review – bizarre true-crime tale of man who faked his own death

Television: Police say Scotland resident who woke from a Covid coma is a sex offender on the FBI’s most wanted list

It was the coronation chicken that gave him away. Early in the first episode of Imposter: The Man Who Came Back from the Dead (Channel 4, Monday), it is revealed that Scottish-based Anglo-Irish aristocrat Arthur Knight had never heard of the hallowed sandwich filling. This struck a pub landlord as odd: imagine living in the UK and not knowing about coronation chicken?

His chicken knowledge gap wasn’t the only fishy thing about Knight, as Channel 4 reveals in this grippingly bizarre documentary. Knight, it is claimed, was an alias for Rhode Island-born Nicholas Rossi, who faked his death and then moved across the Atlantic, where he persuaded future wife Miranda he was a well-to-do orphan from the old sod (his “Irish” accent is about as authentic as those of the demented hobbits in the Amazon Lord of the Rings show).

Knight to this day insists he has nothing to do with Rossi. As does his wife. “My husband is not American. He is not Nicholas Rossi,” she tells Channel 4. “We were such a normal couple before this all happened. We love the National Trust.”

Miranda may believe him but many do not and the life he had built for himself in Scotland unravelled during the pandemic. Knight woke from a Covid coma surrounded by police, who arrested him on foot of rape allegations in the United States made by Rossi’s former wife, who says he was a violent domestic abuser.


Rossi comes across as a cack-handed master of disguise who took on many aliases, few persuasive. We are told he (briefly) convinced a vegan cheese influencer that he was a Harvard-educated marketing genius. She hired him and then tried to fire him when she realised he was never going to deliver a promised website redesign. He apparently demanded that she pay him anyway, then spread false rumours about her online.

Another alleged victim was English woman Michelle Minnaar, who says she met Rossi online, where he claimed to be a political consultant from Rhode Island. Days later, he allegedly turned up unannounced on her doorstep, gaslit her into handing over money and later raped her – before absconding, wondering why she’d changed the locks and called the police. “I felt emotionally, psychologically and mentally raped already,” she recalls in the documentary. “The physical part was just icing on the cake.”

The end of the story is just a Google search away, but if you don’t know how it all plays out, it’s worth staying with The Man Who Came Back from the Dead, as it continues on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is the hard-to-credit tale of a skewed individual who seems to have been a pretty inept trickster yet led police a merry dance for years. It’s cliche to say fact is stranger than fiction, but, in this case, my goodness, is it true?