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Starting in 1996, ‘Forensic Files’ (also known as ‘Murder Detectives’ in Britain), was one of the earliest shows to demonstrate the burgeoning advances in forensic science. The show combined an educational examination of criminal cases; all while narrator Peter Thomas gave every gruesome detail with his spine-tingling delivery.
Watching an episode of ‘Forensic Files’ is like reaching into a bag of candy. You can’t have just one. If there is ever an episode marathon, forget about it. My day’s plans have been decided! Its mix of fascinating science and frightening human behavior is truly engrossing.
But if you’ve already blazed through every episode and are hungry for other shows where violent criminals get put away thanks to the skills of lab coat detectives, here are five shows similar to ‘Forensic Files’ that prove equally addictive.
‘The New Detectives’ gave riveting accounts of violent criminals and terrorists foiled thanks to the determined efforts of forensic science and joint efforts between law enforcement and the FBI. The show’s ability to easily communicate the complicated factors of forensic science inspired the popular crime drama ‘CSI’.
One of the greatest benefits of the advancements in forensic science is the ability to help solve cases that have been unresolved for years or even decades. ‘Cold Case Files’, narrated by deep-voiced reporter Bill Kurtis, illuminated many such cases, with disturbing details that were both terrifying and emotional.
Anyone with even a cursory understanding of law enforcement know that the longer a case takes to solve, the greater the chance that it may never be. ‘The First 48’ details those crucial two days that can result in catching a murderer or finding an abducted victim before its too late.
Actor Robert Stack (‘The Untouchables’) narrated this engaging series, which looked into the mysterious circumstances of murders, missing persons, conspiracy theories and even the supernatural.
The show’s budget allowed for more credible actor recreations than most true crime shows, and the audience was heavily involved, encouraged to call in with tips and clues to help solve cases.
The show’s popularity proved so powerful that it was revived on several different networks over the past two decades, including episodes hosted by actor Dennis Farina (‘Snatch’) and actress Virginia Madsen (‘Sideways’).
Director Andrew Jarecki (‘Capturing The Friedman’s’) examines one of the most bizarre true crime stories of all time. His mini-series deals with Robert Durst: a millionaire eccentric suspected in the disappearance of his wife.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: his colorful past also includes beating a murder rap for killing his former neighbor, dressing as a woman to avoid authorities, as well as being suspected in yet another murder! His story shows the double standard of American justice for the wealthy.
Gaining unprecedented access to interview his subject, Jarekci tries to piece together the puzzle and decide if Durst is truly a monster, or just profoundly unlucky. Suspenseful, engaging and often jaw dropping, The Jinx is one of the best docuseries ever made.
So that concludes my lists of TV series like ‘Forensic Files.’ Make sure to take breathers between watching too many of the series mentioned…or you may be too afraid to ever leave your house!
What true crime shows do you find impossible to look away from?
Share them in the comments below.