‘Cold Justice’ investigators the real deal

  • By Rich Heldenfels Akron Beacon Journal
  • Friday, August 30, 2013 4:13pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

If “Cold Justice” was a scripted drama, it would seem a tidy fit with TNT shows like “Major Crimes” and “Rizzoli &Isles,” series that showcase women in law enforcement.

The new show, which begins at 10 tonight on TNT, focuses on ex-prosecutor Kelly Siegler and a former crime-scene investigator, Yolanda McClary, who travel the country in order to find the wrongdoers in small-town cold cases.

But “Cold Justice” is not fiction. Siegler and McClary are real-life professionals brought together by producer Dick Wolf (“Law &Order”). McClary may seem familiar because she inspired Marg Helgenberger’s character on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

And it’s that attempt to portray reality, especially the sometimes plodding reality of criminal investigations, that works against “Cold Justice.”

The drama is sometimes lost in the procedure, and in two episodes made available for preview, the courtroom resolution of cases is not yet complete.

Instead, the investigators try to find more than is already known, for instance, whether a case ruled a suicide is actually a murder, or who should be arrested in the unsolved murder of an elderly woman.

They meet with local law enforcement, review the existing evidence, and gather their own information by re-examining crime scenes, re-interviewing witnesses and bringing in their own investigators.

According to the show, some of the cost of this new investigation is borne by the local law, since the cases are still open, while the show pays for Siegler and McClary’s time and travel.

Cases are chosen based on analysis by Siegler, McClary and the off-camera team of “where we can do the most good and make the most progress given the limited time and resources we have to shoot each episode,” the show’s producers said.

One of the messages in the show is that magical DNA does not always solve cases; in fact, in at least one episode, a DNA test is of no use. Instead, there is a lot of basic investigative work, rethinking the elements of the case, and sometimes a little luck — as when the team finds a key piece of evidence that has gone unnoticed in plain sight for years.

That can be somewhat dry viewing. A telecast does not go all the way, ending with an indictment or arrest, but not yet a confession or conviction.

Watch it

“Cold Justice airs premieres at 10 tonight on TNT.

More in Life

Artist Justin Hillgrove, creator of Imps and Monsters, in his studio. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Where the wild things are in Snohomish

Step into the studio of Imps and Monsters creator Justin Hillgrove for a Black Friday sale.

Meet Nellie, Thor, Raven, Lola, Jasper, Gunner and Bella

These six dogs are waiting for loving homes.

Did you know? Bats edition

Worthwhile Everett library reading and viewing about bats of the animal, sport and hero varieties.

Don’t forbid friendship with back-talking neighbor kid

Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked… Continue reading

How birds stay alive in winter and what you can do to help

When the weather turns chilly, columnist Sharon Wootton’s thoughts turn to birds coping with cold.

Don’t get scammed: Think before you click on email links

An email that was supposedly from iTunes is a scam that targeted busy parents.

Sweden’s Glass Country sparkles like a hand-blown bauble

You can blame my Norwegian heritage, but I’m not so hot on… Continue reading

The pros’ snow: Lake Tahoe a big draw for skiers of all stripes

North Lake Tahoe is home to one of the largest concentrations of ski resorts in North America.

Teen idol David Cassidy remains in Florida hospital

The former pop star is dealing with multiple organ failure.

Most Read