The First 48, shown on A&E, chronicles homicide detectives as they investigate a murder. According to the narrator, heard at the beginning of each episode, the chances of solving a homicide decrease by 50% after the first 48 hours. Instead of relying on flashy scenery or overdramatic actors, the First 48 takes viewers behind the scenes of a real homicide investigation.
The cameras roll as law enforcement from some of America’s most violent cities, including Miami and Memphis, canvas the crime scene of a murder victim. As crime scene specialists gather evidence, detectives interview possible witnesses and ascertain the victim’s identity. Investigators display gritty and raw emotion as they make death notifications to victims’ families. Tensions run high as these professionals attempt to recreate the last hours of a victim’s life, meet with coroners, and interrogate suspects.
While the main focus of the First 48 is the crime investigation, producers take extra care to humanize these law enforcement officers. The show delves into the real lives of these detectives and the stress their work places on their family life. Working 12 to 16 hours straight some days, these officers are forced to try and balance their work and family life. One episode featured the detrimental effects their working hours can have on personal relationships as one officer’s fiancée ended the relationship via a Dear John letter.
The First 48 provides a fast paced, edgy, and accurate portrayal of crime investigations. It is the perfect alternative for viewers bored with CSI.
Tuesday at 9:00 PM on A&E
March 6, 2004