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“Cold Case Files:” The New Docu-series Joining Netflix’s True Crime Dramas

Ever since I’ve been at college I’ve realized that my taste in movies and TV shows has changed drastically. I’m not into any cheesy or sappy rom-coms and I’ve been leaning more towards hard hitting true crime dramas and documentaries. 

Recently, I watched this docu-series called “Cold Case Files.” When a case goes cold it means that there have been no new leads or tips as to who commited the crime. “Cold Case Files” chronicles the re-examination of long-unsolved crimes and the journeys of the law enforcement personnel who reopened them. With the use of forensic advances and new evidence, detectives attempt to crack the cases and clarify unanswered questions. There are 120,000 unsolved murder cases in America, and this documentary series encompases the one percent of cases that are ever solved. 

A docuseries with the same name originally aired in 1999 on A&E network, the series had five seasons that examined various murder cases that were left unsolved. A&E came out with a spin-off of the original in 2017 looking at 10 more unsolved murder cases from the 1980’s. 

The docuseries doesn’t get into the gruesome nature of how victims were murdered, but hearing the first-person storytelling from the detectives and loved ones who lived through the harrowing experiences is truly heartbreaking. Still, it is not for the faint of heart because it is definitely difficult to watch. 

The first half of the series is narrated by Lethal Weapon actor Danny Glover, while US news anchor and narrator for the original episodes, Bill Kurtis, takes over for the second half. 

“Cold Case Files” is the latest in a long line of critically acclaimed true crime docs to hit our screens in recent years, joining the likes of “The Staircase,” “Making a Murderer” and more recently, “I Am A Killer.” “The Staircase” dives into a murder trial following the murder of novelist Michael Paterson’s wife. In 2001 Peterson’s wife died, and he claimed she perished after falling down a flight of stairs in their home. The medical examiner, however, found that she had been beaten with some kind of weapon, which led to Peterson becoming a murder suspet. The real-life courtroom thriller offers a riveting inside look at a high profile murder trial. 

Making a Murderer:” Exonerated after spending nearly two decades in prison for a crime that he did not commit, Steven Avery filed a lawsuit against Manitowoc County, Wis., and the individuals involved in his arrest. Shortly after, however, Avery found himself behind bars for the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. When Columbia graduate students Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos read about Avery, they felt his story would make an interesting documentary. Neither PBS nor HBO were interested. Eventually, Netflix took on the project to produce this docuseries which generated plenty of buzz to have Avery’s case reviewed. “I Am A Killer‘ is a documentary series that is focused on profiling prison inmates convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Recounting the events that led to their crime, the killers reveal their motivations and how they now view their actions, after spending time on death row.

If you’re someone who likes true crime dramas, I really recommend checking these ones out! 

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Tara is a junior HPEX health science major at Virginia Commonwealth University. She likes hanging out with friends and family, trying out new places to eat and scrolling through dog videos in her free time.
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