Monday, May 21, 2012

Homicide Hunter : A True Life Procedural

Sick and tired of a TV season filled with slick but empty fictional procedural shows?
Then the new factual series Homicide Hunter is for you --it's the real thing.
Retired homicide detective Joe Kenda sits back and invites us into the action of solving true life murders.
And he's seen a whole heap of them. According to his own statistics he's solved more than 387 homicides in his long career with the Colorado Springs police department.
The first episode on Wednesday May 23 at 8 p.m. on Investigation Discovery catches him in a fond reminiscent mood as he demonstrates all his powers in solving the disappearance and subsequent murder of a flighty waitress dropped off at a bar and never seen again.
Kenda is an odd old bird --he sits impassively with darkness all around him his face a mass of lines as he wearily recounts the salient facts.
And you quickly believe him that he's seen it all and then some.
The first episode happened some time ago because in the dramatic reenactments he's played by a young hunk some 25 years younger than the wizened retiree who sits telling the story.
What gets me is the completely plain talking way the murder is recounted and thrashed about in an ever so slow style of delivery.
At one point talking about the hysterical reaction of the family who figured the police were not doing enough he looks at the camera and drawls "Everybody yells at me."
Yeah, but Kenda never yells back. He simply continues meticulously recounting detail after detail and showing how he was ever so slowly moving toward an arrest.
The dramatic restagings are, well, the dopey part. We want more of Kenda on what it's like to search for a killer when he can't even find a corpse.
He shows us how he interrogates a suspect, drawing out the details and often a confession without any hint of bullying.
In fact Homicide Hunter emerges as Joe Kenda's "Greatest Hits", every case neatly wrapped up without too much sweat on his part. And there are comments from real family members, the D.A. in the case as well as fellow detectives working with him all the way.
The title of an early episode says it all: "Everybody Lies".
But not Joe Kenda. His sad, old eyes have seen it all and then some. It's been his life's work and he's deservedly proud of his record.

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