True Crime shows have exploded in the last few years – so much so, there’s now a whole network devoted to them (thank you, Investigation Discovery). Lots of other cable and broadcast networks are starting to incorporate more true crime-based shows into their lineups. I guess in the case of TV (and books), crime does pay.
I’ve always had a fascination with true crime. Being a child of the 80s, I grew up watching every TV movie/miniseries imaginable “based on a true story,” and for whatever reason, my favorites were always the ones chronicling crime.
It’s only fitting that I write suspense novels.
These days, I tend to watch a lot of true crime cable shows, and find there are certain ones I’ve really cottoned to. So, here are my Top Five Favorite True Crime Shows:
Scorned: Love Kills (Investigation Discovery)
Maybe it’s because I write about love gone wrong that I like this show so much. There’s usually a love triangle, lots of illicit sex and a fatal ending. And that theme song is just beyond.
“Snapped” debuted in 2004 and I’ll go out on a limb by saying it probably birthed 90 percent of the true crime shows out there today. “Snapped” usually features a woman “snapping” and murdering someone; her boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, romantic rivals, even co-workers. The motives range from greed to jealousy. True story; the murder of my father’s former grad school professor was featured on an episode. Read about it here.
Forensic Files (Court TV/TRU TV, et al.)Admittedly, I’m not really a forensics geek, but there’s something about this show that I find utterly fascinating. It details how forensic science is used to solve crimes – even ice-cold cases. The DNA on the back of a postage stamp can convict a killer 30 years after the crime. Unreal. Peter Thomas’ frenetic narration towards the end of the show when they depict how the crime occurred always gets my heart racing.
Happily Never After (Investigation Discovery)
Much like “Scorned: Love Kills,” this series details how love can go horribly, horribly wrong, typically between a married couple. Marlo Thomas is such a warm and fuzzy narrator, you almost forget a spouse is about to meet a grizzly end.
City Confidential (A&E)
Paul Winfield’s conspiratorial narration style is probably the No. 1 reason I dig this show, which examines the impact of crimes on a community. Winfield makes you feel as though you’re having a secret gossip session over a three-martini lunch at 21 (the late Dominick Dunne had this same effect). Although “City Confidential” ended its run in 2006, I can’t help firing up the martini shaker anytime there’s a rerun.