Cold Case Files

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Cold Case Files TV Poster Image
Docuseries brings closure to long-unsolved crimes.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Old homicide cases are reopened and reinvestigated using modern-day forensic medicine. Cold case investigators demonstrate a commitment to bringing resolution to the victim's families. The criminals, victims, and investigators are all of diverse ages as well as racial, social, and economic backgrounds. Most investigators interviewed are Caucasian males.

Violence

Frequent discussions of violent behavior, including abuse, torture, and murder. Graphic police photos of murder victims often clearly show wounds and the instruments that caused them. Pictures of letters and other police evidence containing descriptions of violent crime are shown. Many references to rape and other sexual abuse as they pertain to the crime being investigated.

Sex

Occasional discussions about sexual activity, including prostitution.

Language

Mostly on the mild side: "bastard," "damn," "hell," etc. Occasional stronger words, often recorded or quoted from the alleged criminals, are muted and/or blurred out.

Consumerism

This show is often used for law-enforcement training purposes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional discussion of alcohol abuse, drug use, and drug trafficking.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybabyboomer1001 June 15, 2012

One of the Best Shows on the Air & the Host Bill Kurtis is the Best

I've been watching Cold Case Files so long that I now watch the same episodes three or more times over, while working in my computer. The show is great. Th... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey November 12, 2009

I dont care about your personal feelings for this show, I love any crime drama.

I watch this and other crime documentaries any time I can cause I want to be a detective when I grow up (I dont know any other way to put it!) So yeah it's... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 20, 2009
I like watching crime shows like this because I want to do something in forensics when I'm older. So this show teaches me a lot about forensic activities a... Continue reading

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?

TV details

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