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Cold Case Files
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series chronicles how modern investigative techniques and forensic medicine are used to solve old homicide cases. One of the show's main goals is to find some resolution for the victims' families. Graphic police photos are often shown, and violent crimes are discussed in some detail. While there's an informative context for these discussions, they're not meant for young viewers.
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What's the story?
Documentary series COLD CASE FILES explores how investigators use contemporary crime-solving techniques to re-examine long-unsolved homicides, known as "cold cases." Long after the initial leads have dried out, cold case detectives revisit these incidents in an effort to find new clues. With the help of modern forensic medicine and good investigation work, many can now be solved. The series covers high-profile cases (like the still-unresolved Zodiac Killer murders) as well as those that have been forgotten by the public. The main objective is to look at how advances in forensic medicine -- including DNA testing -- are helping law enforcement finally bring some resolution to the victims' families, while providing an informative, scientific look the investigative process.
Is it any good?
While some of the content is strong -- including crime scene photos showing close ups of victims' fatal wounds -- most of these images are shown in context as part of the detailed account of the investigation. The series is unique in that, without exploiting them, it places great importance on supporting people who have to cope with their loved ones' violent deaths. As a result, Cold Case Files offers mature viewers an opportunity to learn both about the science behind solving crimes and the emotional importance of solving them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about forensic medicine. How do you become a forensic scientist? Do shows like this one (as well as crime dramas like CSI) make forensic medicine more appealing as a career? Do you think the media offers a realistic view of what that kind of job is like? Families can also talk about how families cope when violent crime has touched their lives. How can friends, neighbors, and society help people who've lost a loved one to violence?