I'm obsessed with the criminal mind, so it's not surprising that A & E's The First 48 is my favorite reality show. Actually, it's so extraordinary that it's also my favorite TV drama.
If you've never caught it, give it a shot. You'll be hooked.
The first forty-eight hours following the commission of a crime are the most crucial. After that, the trail goes cold fast.
We follow different police departments in Miami, Detroit, Phoenix, Memphis and Kansas City as they race the clock to gather evidence that, hopefully, will be substantial enough to convict a perp. With the clock counting down, the chances of connecting a person to a crime diminishes every hour.
That's the show's basic premise.
The series has been running since 2004, so there are dozens of memorable investigations, but a couple really stand out for me.
Probably my favorite of all time is "A Serial Killer Calls". Watching it left me slack-jawed.
A serial killer was calling 911 and leaving clues about fresh bodies as the show was shooting. Usually, the crew arrives after a body is found. In this ep, half a dozen people are murdered during the investigation. As the old ad line goes: You are there!
The beauty of The First 48 is the intimacy that exists between the camera and the detectives. These are not actors. These are not improvisers. Sometimes, it's easy to forget the gravity of what they're doing. On a daily basis, they're hunting humans, humans wanted for murder.
True Crime doesn't get any more authentic than this -- not on the telly, anyway.