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26 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Great Show!

Author: arica434 from United States
1 December 2005

I absolutely LOVE this show! So much so that I record it on my DVR if I think I'm going to miss a portion b/c you gotta watch it from the very beginning to the absolute end. These guys work hard and even though I love shoes like C.S.I., they tend to glamorize the work of actual C.S.I.'s. But the detectives on this show are great!!! I especially love when they are in Miami. Of course it's a bummer when a case isn't solved but then again, it's reality. And it goes to show you that not all cases are solved in a day. If someone is interested in a career in law enforcement, this would be the show to watch to see if that is really something you want to do. I hope this show continues for many seasons to come.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

The best reality show on TV today

10/10
Author: rncep from United States
8 February 2007

I believe this is the 2nd or 3rd season and I am hooked completely. No CSI Miami here this is the real deal. Very intriguing from start to finish and it shows how the homicide units of different police department across the USA, really work. Highly recommended if you are a reality/true crime buff. I only wish they would come out with more episodes as I have seen everyone, some 2 or 3 times as A and E shows them throughout the week. My favorite season was the first and some of the real life characters are on other documentaries on A and E. The show takes you from the moment the call comes in until the solving of the cases and all the internal work that goes into gathering evidence and following leads. Also the interrogation of suspects is spotlighted in each episode. Once you watch one episode it will be on your DVR list for sure.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

As Real as it Gets

10/10
Author: Ken Spiker (celr@mcn.org) from California
9 March 2013

This is just about my all-time favorite TV show. It follows real homicide detectives as they work to solve actual cases. You get to ride along with them and see how they put together the clues and catch their suspects. You get to see the devastating effects these homicides have on the families of the victims. You can see how the detectives interview actual suspects and how they handle the strain this rather grim and arduous work which often pulls them out of bed in the middle of the night to go to some miserable crime scene to examine a dead guy who was alive only an hour or so before. These detectives are admirable, heroic, stoic and dedicated to do the work they do and they're not without a sense of humor. This sense of humor isn't the breezy, wisecracking sort you get on the fictional cop shows, but a genuine dark humor which comes from an all-too-real appreciation of the tragic nature of their work and the absurdities of the situations they have to deal with. For example, a suspect is being interrogated by a female officer. The suspect is saying how he was friends with the victim and would never hurt him. However, it's looking more and more obvious he did it. "I knew him since grammar school, he's like a brother to me," the suspect pleads, "I love him to death." The detective replies: "I hope nobody ever loves me that much."

The vast majority of these murders occur in minority neighborhoods. This is a fact of life that many people have a hard time getting their heads around. Why this is may be a complex question. There seems to be a feeling of resignation among the residents of these 'hoods. They are very often reluctant to give information to the police even though they are the ones suffering most from the crimes around them, and though cooperating with the cops would be the surest way to mitigate the crime problem which is making their lives a living hell.

You can observe several salient things watching "The First 48." First, the housing in these high crime neighborhoods isn't really so bad. Second, people appear to be well-fed and possess TVs, cellphone, iPods and all kinds of consumer items including pretty good cars and nice clothes. You are far more likely to see obese people than starving people.

The third thing that impresses is the absolutely deadpan, casual, mindless and cold-blooded way these killers usually commit their murders. Most of them appear to be sleepwalking. They kill on impulse, not from passion or even for some economic gain. They kill innocent bystanders as easily as they kill intended targets. They hardly appear to know how to aim their guns. It seems you have generations of young thugs who appear to be just too dumb to think of anything else to do than to go out and shoot their friends and neighbors for...well, it doesn't even seem like sport, it's more like just something to relive the boredom. I don't know the reason for this, but it is the most absolutely remarkable thing you come to know from watching this series or just reading the stories in the newspapers. It is profoundly shocking to realize that a large cohort of young men, often in their late teens and early 20s have such little regard for human life, and little regard for anything else either. Often the young killers appear stunned, zombielike, when they find themselves in police custody, like they have no idea why they're there and wondering when they can go home.

This show is beautifully produced, visually and structurally, with a very real sense of compassion for the families and friends of the victims. Though the killers seem to be emotionally detached, the families of the victims feel the loss of a loved one very deeply indeed. "The First 48" touches on so many subjects, sociology, criminology, old-fashioned detective work, spirituality, psychology and forensics. It is just about the best 'reality' show on TV today.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Gritty Cop Show; This Is Real Life

9/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
1 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen maybe a dozen of these episodes and I'm impressed. All of them are interesting but be warned many of them are not uplifting. I find I can only watch them sporadically because often it's a downer.....but that's real. Nothing is glamorized here; you see what it's like to be a homicide detective in some of the toughest parts of big cities.

Some of the cities that are prevalent in these stories include Memphis, Dallas, Miami and Detroit. I've also seen Kansas City, Cincinnati and a few other places. no matter the city, the stories are fairly similar - somebody committed murder, a few suspects try to lie their way out of it, some finally admit it, but some cases remain unsolved. There are not always satisfying endings because some cases simply are too tough to solve or police don't have enough evidence to convict the apparent killer.

We also learn that being a homicide cop requires a number of things most of us don't have, and you better be really dedicated to the job or you won't last long. My hat's off to these people, who are trying to see justice served. If you want to get a taste of of what it's like being a cop in mostly black or Hispanic neighborhoods, this is your show. Many of the police or black or Hispanic, themselves. All of them are interesting. For those who will never come close to living in neighborhoods shown in this series, it will open your eyes to a violent world..

Note: since I can't find this particular episode listed here on IMDb, I've tacked in on to the general review of the TV program. This episode was titled "The Wrong Man/Five Points Payback."

'Another Sad Story'

That is how Sgt. Tony Mullins, lead detective, sums up "The Wrong Man" case in which an innocent man is shot to death. He wasn't the target, but the killer missed and hit him instead. Mullins and his peers see a lot of this kind of thing: "another sad story" as people's lives are snuffed out routinely, many times over trivial instances.

This shooting took place at a busy intersection in Memphis, Tenn., and the police have a hard time in the beginning collecting evidence. That's because it's raining out and getting worse. A lot of evidence is being washed away so time is especially critical. Witnesses say a gray Chevy Caprice was seen driving away after the shooting.

Once the cops find the car, a lot more progress is made and eventually the case becomes a manhunt for two brothers: Johnny "Main" Peterson and Sammy "Pookie" Peterson. It takes over three weeks for them to be found, the key help in the case being their sister, "Diamond."

The second case in this episode is in Dallas, Texas, where police get a 911 call about a shooting in a parking lot of an apartment complex. Two men are found shot: one is dead and the other rushed to the hospital. Soon, it's related that the latter will be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Who shot them and why? Det. Dale Lundberg and his crew investigate. The dead man is Sabas Vargas, a Mexican national and father of two. The case, in a nutshell, winds up being about drug running up to Nashville, Tenn. Bad blood between a couple of guys over a girlfriend - not drugs - is, allegedly, the reason for the bloodshed.

A key tip in this case comes from another cop working the Narcotics Division who hears about the Vargas shooting, sees the Tennessee plate son the van in which the men were shot, and puts two-and-two together.

Here's the bad news. As of the end of the show, the killers were still on the loose. This case hadn't been solved.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

True Criminal Investigation

8/10
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
3 July 2012

One of the more credible "reality TV" series, "The First 48" (which refers to the first 48 hours of a crime investigation) shows real detectives investigating real crimes. All POIs are real. There are no actors, no script.

Each episode lasts about 45 minutes, and begins as the crime investigation begins. The episode then ends with the identity of the perpetrator. In between, cops query neighbors, talk strategy among themselves, search databases, make phone calls, and analyze forensics. It's gritty work. Most of the time, cases are solved, but not always. Usually, the criminal leaves obvious clues, as he or she is not very smart.

Color cinematography is fine. Images are clear and sharp. Given the docudrama approach, editing is important. All the episodes I watched had fine editing. In voice-over, a narrator describes what's going on and why, to help guide viewers.

My only complaint is that some episodes are sewn together in one long sequence. You get the setup for "Loved To Death" (for example), only to be interrupted by the setup for "Unmasked" (a different episode). Then during "Unmasked", the program switches back to "Loved To Death". This back-and-forth presentation of two episodes is annoying. It kills each story's continuity.

I'm not fond of the "reality-TV" genre. But here, the action is not contrived. And there are no Hollywood "stars", mercifully! Overall, "The First 48" is a fine series that at least tries to introduce some reality into a film genre that historically has been way too glamorized.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Job

10/10
Author: John Wilkes Booth from Sandgate
2 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The First 48 is police work as it is, without the high production values (light filters, Massive Attack tunes, and clean crime labs) and professional writing staffs. The documentary style brings the viewer right into the investigations and presents the Job better than Dennis Leary ever could.

Each episode, as far as I can tell, is divided into two separate story lines that follows the course of two cases in different cities. Dallas, Phoenix, Kansas City, Detroit, Memphis and Miami tend to dominate the series. It would do the show well to expand to other cities, yet to be CSIed like Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Buffalo, Houston, New Haven, and Montreal even. These cases are not always resolved in the critical first two days of an investigation, and this lets the public audience in on the life of Homicide detectives.

The life entails long shifts without sleep, spent following leads and witnesses that often times don't have anything to offer the investigation. When the cases are brought to trial, the evidence and the story tends to present itself serendipitously and when the cases go nowhere the show remains resolved. Homicide Detectives invest their lives into those of the Dead, and it becomes clear how important their work truly is for safety and protection of the rest of us.

The better fictional police shows on Network Television, Cable and HBO, like CSI, the Closer, the Wire and the Helen Mirren PrimeSuspect series follow the precepts of the First 48. Bad things can happen and cases become cold and forgotten, buried underneath new homicides. Despite this, the First 48 is refreshing because it shows the Police as human beings, subject to the imperfections that most Television shows fail to recognize or portray as more than caricatures, artificial dialogue devices and empty.

The series is well-edited and paced. It has pleasant time-lapse photography of cityscapes to serve as transitions to contain the 'action' within an hour-long show, and the separate cases breaks up the monotony. If you are looking for non-stop action, thrilling car cases, and low-cut sweaters; this show is not for you.

Its real. Its boring, but its Real. A&E has another terrific show to compliment its catalogue and its a lot less preachy than Dog: The Bounty Hunter.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Great show!

Author: Movie Nuttball from U.S.A.
24 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This show is really a great show in My opinion. It shows the real thing. Its on the A&E channel every week. The cases are good and can be violent because these things are really happening and are not made up. I would not recommend a young child to watch this program without the guidance of a parent. The show gives the viewer the knowledge of how the detectives do their work that is not as easy as you would think. The show is an excellent program to watch for people who love to see real crimes getting solved and killers getting jailed. If you like to see real crimes getting solved then I strongly recommend that you check out the A&E channel and watch this show today!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Exceptional and brilliant dissection of the human condition

9/10
Author: fertilecelluloid from Mountains of Madness
27 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an exceptional, brilliantly produced TV series focusing on the work done by real detectives -- not actors -- in the first forty-eight hours after a homicide is committed. Rigorously shot and sharply edited, it is far more fascinating than most fictional police procedurals and enhanced by great music and rich sound design. In some episodes, there are two stories that are cross-cut. In other eps, such as the amazing "When A Serial Killer Calls", one story occupies the entire show. "The First 48" does not focus on the personal lives of the detectives, but it doesn't back away, either, from intimately depicting how a particular investigation is impacting on the participants personally. The camera work is excellent under less than perfect conditions and the second unit work featuring striking establishing shots and effective use of time lapse photography gives each episode a meaty, visual kick. The show's theme music is urgent and dramatic, and the integration of top notch graphics (with accompanying sound effects) adds enormously to the atmosphere. Always compelling and frequently brilliant, this underrated hour of harsh, fascinating reality is a must-see for anybody with an interest in dissecting the human condition.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

He is taken to the Hospital but......he dies

8/10
Author: contrerassherry from United States
12 July 2013

My husband & I always watch this show. It is interesting but can be depressing when the victim is just an innocent person in the wrong place at the wrong time - also when they have small children, which is usually the case. It is heartbreaking to see the grief of the relatives when they are informed of their loved one's death.

I like watching the suspects get interviewed. They almost always lie and often the detectives can break them down. Some of the perps show remorse, others feel no guilt.

The only thing I don't like is how two different cases are covered in the same episode and they jump back and forth, back and forth. They're in Miami, now they're in Harris County, TX, now they're back in Miami....The episodes that focus on one case are easier to follow.

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5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Tedious

4/10
Author: Regarding from Canada
20 March 2013

I am a bona fide fan of the true crime genre, but this show is not satisfying to me at all, and I thus stopped watching it some time ago.

Every episode, every segment is almost invariably the same thing: a drug deal gone wrong resulting in some not-so-innocent guy shot in an inner-city parking lot. Cops investigate, put pressure on "homies" of the dead dude, and come up with the name of the shooter. Yawn. After the umpteenth time rehashing the same scenario, I have had it. Not to mention that I have never liked the voice of the narrator or the editing between segments that purposely leaves the viewer hanging. I have also never found that the "48-hour" gimmick adds any tension to the proceedings. It's merely an irritating intrusion.

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