Cold Justice

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Cold Justice TV Poster Image
Gritty police docuseries displays graphic images.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series underscores how important it is to solve crimes in the interest of justice and to bring closure to victims' families.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Siegler and McClary are committed to solving cases through hard work rather than placing blame on faulty practices. They follow meticulous guidelines and are patient and thorough.

Violence

Brutal murders, domestic violence, and other violent themes are central to the show. Detailed reenactments of alleged crimes, as well as graphic images of murder victims and their wounds. Bloody crime scenes are also visible.

Sex
Language

Words like "s--t" audible.

Consumerism

Apple computers visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasionally drugs/alcohol are relevant to the cases being investigated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cold Justice is a reality series that follows investigations of homicide cases that went cold. Expect to see graphic images of murder victims and bloody crime scenes, as well as hear detailed conversations about violent crimes and other illegal activities. People occasionally use strong language. The series isn't geared towards younger audiences, and sensitive viewers of all ages will find it difficult to watch.

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What's the story?

COLD JUSTICE is a reality series that follows former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and former crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary as they help law enforcement officials solve cold cases across the country. The two travel to small American towns, most of which lacked the resources to run DNA tests or other forensic techniques to solve difficult cases. Looking for clues that were missed or omitted during original investigations, Siegler and McClary review files, return to crime scenes, and re-interview witnesses and others who are potentially connected to the case. DNA testing and other forensic evidence is collected when possible. Their hard work often leads to new evidence that can be taken to a grand jury for an indictment, and then presented at trial. There's no guarantee that cases will be solved, but ultimately, their work brings some closure to the victims' families.

Is it any good?

Cold Justice, which is produced by Law & Order creator Dick Wolf, paints a thorough picture of how criminal investigations are conducted. It shows how old-fashioned investigative work can lead to breakthroughs in cases that never had a chance to get off the ground. It also underscores how, unlike entertainment television, intricate and frustratingly long the process is.

Despite attempts to add drama using crime scene photos, replays of previous interviews, and other elements, the pace of the show is a bit slow thanks to the meticulous work the investigators are doing. The details surrounding the crimes discussed are highly disturbing, but crime drama fans mature enough to handle it will definitely find it interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between the way the media portrays police investigations, and the way cases are solved in real life. Why do these investigations seem more exciting in movies and on TV?

  • Do reality shows like this one teach people how the criminal justice system works? Is it necessary to show violent images or offer so many details about violent crimes in order to show how the system works, even if they are true?

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TV details

For kids who love drama

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