By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Reinvestigation reality series is voyeuristic and violent.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It underscores the idea that crime investigations can be botched and innocent people can be put behind bars. It also highlights some of the ways investigators solve cases.
Positive Role Models
The investigators can be rough around the edges but are committed to finding the truth. Their interactions with family members, for example, are mostly polite and gentle.
Violence & Scariness
The show focuses on murder investigations. Actual crime scene photos of gruesome murders are shown; murder scenes are recreated to show the murder being committed, including dripping blood. Guns, knives, and other weapons occasionally visible. Some investigations lead to interactions inside prisons.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Prostitution and other sex crimes are sometimes discussed as part of an investigation.
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Words such as "damn," "ass," and "bitch" audible; lots of bleeped curses.
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Products & Purchases
Detectives drive cars such as Chevrolet SUVs, but no logos, makes, or models are obviously displayed.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Murders are often believed to be associated with illegal drug use or trafficking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dead Again is a voyeuristic docuseries featuring a trio of detectives reinvestigating controversial murder cases without prior knowledge of their outcome. There's lots of strong language ("ass," "bitch"; bleeped curses), gruesome crime scene images (both real and reenacted); and references to sex and drug crimes. Older teens may be able to handle it, but it's not intended for younger or sensitive viewers.
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Videos and Photos
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What's the Story?
Produced by Law & Order creator Dick Wolf, DEAD AGAIN is a reality series featuring reinvestigations of controversial murder cases. Veteran detectives Kevin "Spider" Gannon, Joe Schillaci, and Michele Wood investigate recreations of actual crime scenes without being told any of the real-life details and outcomes. The goal? To compare their findings to the verdict to raise questions about whether the person convicted of the crime is the actual killer. Cameras follow the detectives as they work over crime scenes, review information from their mobile command unit, discuss individual (and often contradictory) field notes, and talk to friends, family, and potential suspects. Throughout the process, actual crime scene photos, news clippings, and other documentation from the original event are shown. As they near the end of their investigation, the outcome of each case is revealed so they can compare their findings and, if possible, continue their investigation by talking to the person behind bars.
Is It Any Good?
Dead Again uses the reinvestigation process to show the various ways detectives look for clues, analyze information, and scrutinize seemingly insignificant details that can make a major difference when they're trying to (re)solve a murder case. It also shows how they must often rely on instinct and experience to guide them, especially when key information, such as DNA evidence, is missing.
Thanks to the use of dramatic music, highly stylized reenactments of key moments and details, and gruesome crime scene footage, the entire experience seems sensationalist and tabloid-like. As a result, one might find it difficult to think that the folks who actually handle these cases will take what's being offered here seriously. Viewers who like crime-solving TV will probably find it entertaining, but sensitive viewers may find it disturbing.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what goes into investigating crimes. What kind of training does a detective need to solve cases? When do detectives know when to rely on their instincts instead of the evidence they have? How do they handle the constant violence associated with their work?
Do reality shows such as this one really help people solve cases? Or are they designed to be more entertaining than helpful? Is it necessary to show violent acts or images to make their points?
- Premiere date: October 2, 2014
- Cast: Joe Schillaci, Michele Wood, Kevin Gannon
- Network: A&E
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: June 1, 2023
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