From 1st Degree to 2nd Degree in 60 Minutes in the First 48 Hours

I’ve seen every episode of The First 48 Hours on A&E. Every once in a while I’ll catch one that I think I’ve never seen and then as it continues, I realize, nope, seen it.

So when a new season starts and they’re in a new city, I really get excited. This new season they’ve branched out into Atlanta (though they’ve been there before) and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The first few episodes they were … well … not that exciting. Actually, they’ve been boring up until now.

But this past episode, which aired Thursday, Feb. 26, has brought Tulsa into it’s own. First let me just say that I had no idea that Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) had a much younger brother working in law enforcement and living in Tulsa.

Corporal Nathan Schilling © AETV

Corporal Nathan Schilling © AETV

More on that later. When a car heist goes wrong and a “Stray Shot” kills the car owner, Corporal Nathan Schilling is up next in the rotation to solve the homicide.

On the scene to help is Det. John Brown and Sgt. Dave Walker. Solving a homicide is definitely team work and having a sense of humor must be an important asset, because I can’t ever remember hearing a man ask another man (much less a cop ask another cop) “do these pants make my ass look fat?”

Or maybe it’s just Det. Brown with the sense of humor. Upon leaving the parking garage it’s “exiting the bat cave.” And when he’s searching a 16-year old suspect he’s looking for “guns or bazookas.”

Detective John Brown © AETV

Detective John Brown © AETV

Even when he’s looking at the ammunition from the handgun to see if it’s the same type from the homicide he’s cracking wise about “he’s the oldest guy in here.” To which one of the other detectives brings him a magnifying glass 5 times the size of the one used by Sherlock Holmes.

With the 16-year old suspect in custody and the gun confirmed as the murder weapon the case is on track and now The Rock’s younger brother can go to work. Head of the Fugitive Warrant Squad, Sgt. Luke Sherman has a profile that would have any woman believing he’s Dwayne Johnson’s baby brother.

I’d show you ladies a picture but A&E doesn’t have one posted with the rest of the “Meet the Officers” photos.

Once they have a majority of the underage suspects in custody and interview them, they have a clearer picture of exactly how the homicide went down and exactly who the killer is. And after searching for him (who is not underage), but not finding him, he eventually turns himself in.

From the very start of the interview he denies involvement … “I was home that night.” I wanted to reach into the TV and smack him in the back of his head.

Sgt. Dave Walker ©AETV

Sgt. Dave Walker ©AETV

We’ve heard every one of the suspects say he was the one who had the gun and did the shooting. Sgt. Walker and Corporal Schilling tell him that as well. They tell him this is his opportunity to tell his side of the story.

Sgt. Walker gets frustrated … angry … pissed off … or is it just a ploy and exits the room and leaves Corporal Schilling in the room with the suspect. Which works and the suspect opens up and admits that the shooting was an accident. He didn’t mean to shoot anyone.

Which brings it from first degree murder to second degree murder, giving all of them some possibility of a life after serving their sentences.

Don’t take me for one of those bleeding hearts – they definitely deserve to go to jail. But as Corporal Schilling said, the victim lost his life and a bunch of families are going to lose their children. Their are a lot of victims of crime, on both sides of the table.

The officers who fight it see the devastation on all levels.

 

 

 

 

A Wolf Films/44 Blue Show – Nightwatch – Is Worth a Watch on A&E!

An average of forty-two calls an hour; as many as 1,000 calls a night. No matter how you say it, New Orleans gets a helluva lot of police, fire and EMS calls in a 24-hour period. A&E has a new show on Thursday, following one of my favorites (The First 48) that comes on at 9pm CST entitled Nightwatch. It’s a Wolf Films (yes, follow along here, a Dick Wolf Production: Law & Orders) that follows the police, fire and EMS squads of New Orleans as they go about their nightly … business.

Let me be perfectly clear, it’s not Cops; it’s not even anything like Cops. It is a reality show but it will certainly keep your ass in your chair so I suggest you set your DVR so you don’t miss a single moment.

It’s no secret that New Orleans is one of the cities that The First 48 added to it’s roster in 2013. I was in New Orleans in December 2013 and was pleasantly surprised when I settled in my hotel room to watch my favorite show (The First 48) and that particular episode took place in New Orleans.

But I’m not writing this to tell you about my last vacation. This is a show you should definitely check out because you will be rewarded with an insight into modern police work, dedicated and knowledgeable EMS workers who you hope (or not) you meet one day, and firefighters who save a cat from an arson started burning house and actually have oxygen masks on board their truck that are meant for animals. (Yes, the cat makes it.)

Holly of the team Gavin & Holly, closes the door of the ambulance. © A&ETV.

Holly of the team Gavin & Holly, closes the door of the ambulance. © A&ETV.

EMSers Gavin and Holly and Titus and Dan start work at 8pm. Gavin is an iceberg. I have never seen anyone so cool; even when he’s dealing with a lying doper and delivers a dose of Narcan to a man in the back of his ambulance while his partner Holly drives.

Titus and Dan, the other well matched pair of EMSers, assist with some calls, but also answer their own. A man has congestive heart failure and can’t breathe. Of all the calls they’re sent to, one particular address gives Dan a deja vu and as they go in, he recalls the patient and talks to him like an old friend.

Victor and Cedric of the NOPD in the meantime are “wolfpackin'” in an attempt to find the shooters who gunned down Anthony, the first case the EMSers responded to in this episode.

Over at Firehouse SQURT 27, dinner is being made and Chief Terence is impatient. An alarm goes off and everything is dropped for a residential fire call.  An arson job.

Just as Gavin and Holly get ready to leave Tulane University Emergency they’re called back to the neighborhood where Anthony, their first call, was shot. Retaliation shots have been fired and members of the neighborhood have suffered. They bring an elderly lady in with three gunshot wounds.

NOPD continues their wolfpackin’ strategy in an attempt to catch the shooters. Driving in a pack, patrolling the streets in the area where the shooting took place, checking out foot traffic, hoping the shooters get nervous and make a mistake. Around 12:30pm that’s exactly what happens and they recover two guns, the magazines and some pills.

“Cousins” Titus and Dan stop off at SQURT 27 just in time for dinner. It’s way after 1am and Chef/Capt Kevin has finally put dinner on the table. As they laugh and eat and compliment the cook, Titus makes a joke about them being the kind of cousins “you let ’em on the porch but not in the house.” (I use to have a boyfriend like that.)

Yes, there is some humor, yes there is plenty of drama. At the end of this particular episode, there is a great deal of sadness, and a good deal of truth. Even when Gavin and Holly’s shift is finally over and they stop for a coffee, they still cannot let it go. A citizen tells them there’s someone over at Jackson Square having a seizure.

Turns out it’s just someone who’s overpartied. That happens a lot in New Orleans. I wonder if Nightwatch is going to have a Mardi Gras episode (or two).

TV Marathons – A Big Part of Turkey Day

Every Thanksgiving, the sound of the television has always been in the background. If not a football game, it’s the Macy’s Day Parade, a cooking show or a favorite series or holiday movie. Here’s a list of just a few of the marathons scheduled for this upcoming Thanksgiving weeked.

All times are Eastern. You can always check to see what’s on your favorite channels by Googling their schedule (for example: Cloo Schedule). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

 

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen of IFC's "Portlandia". © Chris Hornbecker Photographer  Credit: IFC

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen of IFC’s “Portlandia”. © Chris Hornbecker Photographer Credit: IFC

Thursday, Nov. 27

Adventure Time: 9am–2pm on Cartoon Network
Portlandia: 9am-2:30pm on IFC
Friends: 10am-5pm on TBS
Seinfeld: 5-8pm on TBS
Friday Night Lights: 10am–9pm on Pivot
Jurassic Park: 10am–2am Friday on AMC (I bet they air the trailer from the upcoming Jurassic Park movie coming to theaters this summer)
Modern Family: 10am-12am (Midnight) on USA
Transporter the Series: 11am-11:03pm on TNT
Alaska: The Last Frontier: 12pm-3am Friday on Discovery Channel
My Dirty Little Secret: 12pm-8pm on Investigation Discovery
The Millionaire Matchmaker: 3-10:30pm on Bravo
The Simpsons: 4-10pm followed by The Simpsons Movie on FXX
The Brady Bunch: 5:30-9pm on TV Land

Friday, Nov. 28

Helix: 6am–8pm on Syfy
Deadly Women: 6am–9pm on Investigation Discovery
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 9am–10pm on Pivot
Rambo: 11am–midnight on AMC
Star Trek: The Next Generation: 12pm–6am Saturday on BBC America
American Pickers: 1–11pm on History
Tanked: 2–9pm on Animal Planet
Gilligan’s Island: 3–9pm on TV Land
Gold Rush: 3–10pm on Discovery Channel
Mysteries: 3pm–4am Saturday on Travel Channel
Blue Bloods: 11am on Ion
Rookie Blue: 10pm on Ion

Saturday, Nov. 29


House: 6am–6am Sunday on Cloo
Manzo’d with Children: 6–10am on Bravo
The Leftovers: 8:45am–6:45pm on HBO Signature

Mark Harmon stars in NCIS. Photo: Jordin Althaus/CBS ©2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Mark Harmon stars in NCIS. Photo: Jordin Althaus/CBS ©2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NCIS: 11am–midnight on USA
The Matrix: 11am–5am Sunday on AMC
Veronica Mars: 12pm–5pm on Pivot
Vikings: 3pm–4am Sunday on History
Homeland: 3pm–12am on Showtime
Z Nation: 11pm–5:30am Sunday on Syfy
Law & Order: Criminal Intent: 11am on Ion

 

Sunday, Nov. 30


NCIS: 6am-6am Monday on Cloo
Ax Men: 7am–1pm on History
Law & Order: SVU: 9am–11pm on USA
Roseanne: 10am–4pm on weTV (also on TV Land from 12–6pm)
Man v. Food Nation: 2–8pm on Travel Channel

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead (Season 5): 1–10pm on AMC
The Real Housewives of Atlanta: 3–11:30pm on Bravo
The Affair: 4–11pm on Showtime

 

Things That Make You Go Hmmm – Dead Again is Dead On!

I hate shows that are predictable. Dead Again is far from that. As a matter of fact, if you call yourself a True Crime connoisseur, then you should set aside a Thursday to come to the table. Dick Wolf should consider submitting these shows to Criminal Justice programs to be used as teaching tools.

Again, I had to watch it more than once. As a matter of fact, today is Thursday and a new episode of Dead Again comes on in just a few hours and I watched it for a third time, today. It’s that good.

SPOILERS

Right off the bat you can understand why the perpetrator made every single move he did during the commission of this crime – once you knew who did it (that’s why it is so rewarding watching it again). Hence, working backward, you can see why Wood and Schillaci would suspect a family member in this particular case.

Michele Wood is the skeptic of the experts on Dead Again. © AETV.

Michele Wood is the skeptic of the experts on Dead Again. © AETV.

While watching the interviews you gain a little more insight. During the crime reconstruction where they examine the shotgun blasts and Wood walks in the same steps as the mother, who is the only surviving victim … but wouldn’t a mother know if her own blood killed her husband, her youngest son and shot her?

No, that’s just too obvious, too easy – but as more and more evidence points in that direction, you throw your hat in the ring with the experts and decide it just has to be family.

But there was one thing that didn’t make sense – why was there gasoline poured all over the house but never lit? When you hear the District Attorney tell it, you understand how crime and violence destroys a family. While pouring the gasoline, he heard his mother on her cell phone calling for help. She heard his footsteps leaving the house without setting the place on fire. The last act of the mother/the final act of the son.

The right person is serving time on this case, but the whole town believes he didn’t act alone. See what I mean about not being predictable.

Another episode airs tonight (Thursday) on A&E at 9pm CST.

Bones Back @ Its Best; Castle Not so Much

Bones (FOX), just showed its second new episode of their 10th season; the premiere episode was well worth waiting for.

Castle (ABC), in its 7th season was flat, lifeless and hard to track. At the end of season 6, right when Kate and Castle were about to be married, Kate got called to a fiery crash which turned out to be Castle’s car. An excellent end-of-season cliff hanger.

The premiere of season 7 picks up right where season 6 left off, with Castle not being in the car (which is what I expected). Castle is missing through the entire episode which spans months. By the end of the episode, he’s found afloat in a boat from a pier owned by a Henry Jenkins (played by Matt Letscher) who turns out to be an imposter.

Matt Letscher told TVLine that while they were filming, everyone “played both sides of the fence” with him “because they wanted to leave themselves some options.” He added that Henry Jenkins is much more cunning compared to his Billy Chambers character in “Scandal” (who cares).

Bones hasn’t had many character eliminations. Zac Addy (played by Eric Millegan) was there from the beginning through season 4. Ryan Cartwright who played Vincent Nigel-Murray was one of several rotating “squinterns” who replaced Zac Addy. He was killed in Season 6, Episode 22 and his murder was the catalyst which brought Booth and Brennan together.

SPOILER ALERT!

John Francis Daley (Sweets) © FOX Network.

John Francis Daley (Sweets) © FOX Network.

In the episodic premiere of the tenth season of Bones, Sweets (played by John Francis Daley) is murdered. The second episode solves his murder and the rest of the team says good-bye.

Also in the first episode, a new cast member is introduced. Agent Aubrey (John Boyd) who you may recognize if you watched “24.”

That’s all I intend to say about Bones and Castle. I hope what I have written encourages you to tune-in to these hour long dramas.

Castle is on ABC on Monday nights at 9pm CST.

Bones is on FOX on Thursday nights at 7pm CST.

Dead Again – Winner … Joe Schillaci – Alive & Kicking

I admit, I have been more than pissed at A&E for dumping Longmire and insulting my intelligence with Love Prison. I mean I watch and write about TV for a living. I understand demograpics. I’m in the demographic range that they no longer want anything to do with.

But how many 18-49 year olds do you know are buying expensive cars and saving for retirement? I’m quite sure Longmire will land on it’s feet where it will be more than appreciated and bring its 5.7 million fans* with it.

But there are shows on A&E that I’ve been watching since Day 1. The First 48 is one of those. From Miami to Memphis to Birmingham to New Orleans to Dallas and Harris County, I’ve seen them all. I own both “Best of the First 48” DVDs. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. I’m a very loyal fan and I bet the demographic category I fall in is too.

Joe Schillaci has always been one of my favorites. He openly admitted one morning when having breakfast with two colleagues that he was metrosexual. When I discovered he was taking part in a Dick Wolf crime show called “Dead Again” I was really excited.

Executive Producer Dick Wolf has gone from showing us some of the fictionalized dramas of America’s real cases in Law & Order to Cold Justice on TNT (I’m a fan) and now to A&E with Dead Again.

Joe Schillaci, Kevin Gannon, Michele Wood - the team of Dead Again. © AETV.

Joe Schillaci, Kevin Gannon, Michele Wood – the team of Dead Again. © AETV.

Wolf has assembed a team of experts: Joe Schillaci (Retired Deputy Commander, Miami), a 30 year veteran with a background in homicide and undercover work and a fan-favorite from The First 48; Kevin Gannon (Retired Detective Sergeant, NYC); and Michele Wood (Homicide Detective, Chicago, 13 year veteran).

The 60-minute series uses these experts in their field to re-examine controversial murder cases in which serious unresolved questions still linger long after the verdict was determined.

The episodic premiere was Thursday, October 2. I watched it twice. I’m still thinking about it and today is Saturday. The case and how it ended is haunting me.

Like The First 48, the eight cases Schillaci and the team re-investigate will not be resolved when the 60-minutes is up. The first episode of Dead Again ended so abruptly, with no known resolution, that I believe that’s why it’s still effecting me.

But I guess you can’t watch year after year of true crime murder cases and not have it effect you. But what really marvels me is the difference between Cold Justice and Dead Again.

Cold Justice reopens unsolved murder cases with the consent of local law enforcement and has a go at re-examining the evidence in an attempt to solve the murder.

The premise behind Dead Again is totally fascinating when you seriously think about.

Longmire fans 5.7 million viewers when DVR views get added in over 7 days. Multichannel News (8/28/14) Updated

The Walking Dead Interview with Maggie Greene+Season 3 Readers’ Poll Results (TWDM)

The Walking Dead Interview | Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene).

Have you been watching Season 4 of The Walking Dead? I certainly have. What about The Talking Dead? Have you set your DVR so you don’t miss anything?

Click the link above and you can read a Q&A with Lauren Cohan. She brings her dog to the set and she tells an interesting story about him.

The newest issue of The Walking Dead Magazine is out and I have to say it’s all about the walking dead (fans, video games, comic books, etc.). On page 11 of the Nov/Dec 2013 issue are results from its Season 3 Readers’ Poll and it yielded some very interesting results:

The fans favorite moment was Daryl and Merle arguing (36%) in the “Home” episode followed by Daryl killing his brother (28%) in “This Sorrowful Life.” Michonne discovering Penny in “Made to Suffer” came in third with 20%.

The Biggest Surprise/Shock category was the death of Andrea in “Welcome to the Tombs” with 41%; the Death of Lori (“Killer Within”) with 12%; and, Carl shooting Jody in “Welcome to the Tombs” with 8%.

Who’s  your favorite character? For 30% of TWDM Readers its Daryl; 25% like Rick; 15% like Andrea; 10% like Michonne.

What about your favorite episode? Here’s how TWDM‘s poll results turned out: Clear – 46%; Killer Within – 24%; Welcome to the Tombs – 15%; This Sorrowful Life – 5%; Prey – 5% and Other – 5%.

The Walking Dead #115 CREDIT: Skybound

The Walking Dead #115
CREDIT: Skybound

The Walking Dead comic book celebrated its tenth anniversary this month (October 2013). The new storyline is ‘All Out War’ (#115) and it will run through issue 120. Issue #115 was printed with ten interlocking covers, that when laid together form one giant issue.

There’s also a special #115 cover commemorating the NYCC.

The Following Finale is Monday + More Series Finales

If you have episodes for The Following backed up on your DVR, then it’s a good idea to get caught up this weekend on plots so when the finale airs Monday night you won’t be shocked (or spoiled).

Myself, I watched three episodes last week, two on Sunday and then the current one on Monday and walked around at work semi-dazed Tuesday morning. Almost everyone took one look at me and said “watched The Following last night huh?” Yes, it’s that intense.

What really shocked me is that my sister came to visit me at work last week and she said to me “so do you watch The Following? I can even sit down when I watch it!” Now my sister doesn’t like anything even mildly scary and she’s really into this show (It could just be Kevin Bacon). Same with my friend at work, her mom’s into this show. Same with my neighbor across the street. She came over on Wednesday and asked if I still had Monday’s episode on my DVR, her husband accidentally deleted it and she was about to kill him – could she watch mine and would I make her some coffee.

Tonight when I signed into my email account, Kevin Bacon was on WhoSay answering Twitter questions from fans about The Following. Each one was individually recorded and everything. He would take his glasses off , repeat the question, answer it. It was really cool. When my sister comes over this weekend I’m going to show her that and I bet she sits down for it. What … you don’t know about WhoSay? Well Google it  and find out.

Other finales for some series I watch include:

Castle (ABC) – Monday, May 13

NCIS (CBS) – Tuesday, May 14

CSI (CBS) – Wednesday, May 15

Elementary – Thursday, May 16

Criminal Minds (CBS) – Wednesday, May 22

Body of Proof (ABC) – Tuesday, May 28

Double Divas on Lifetime is a Hoot & a Half

Lifetime’s Double Divas Size Us Up – Today’s News: Our Take | TVGuide.com.

Molly Hopkins & Cynthia Richards from Livi Rae Lingerie in Atlanta.

Molly Hopkins & Cynthia Richards from Livi Rae Lingerie in Atlanta.

On Thursday this week, I was watching the newest installment of the Storage Wars franchise off DVR (Storage Wars: New York) and a commercial came on for a new Lifetime reality show. Normally I wouldn’t give a second look to what comes on Lifetime, but this really caught my interest. On the screen was an attractive young woman saying she could tell someone’s bra size just by looking at them.

So I set my DVR that night to catch “Double Divas” and on Friday when I got home from my first full week of work in a month, I sat back with a huge cup of hot cocoa and watched three half-hour episodes of Double Divas. By the time I went to bed my sides hurt from laughing, and that hasn’t happened … since … forever.

The above link has a short Q&A with the two owners of Livi Rae Lingerie in Atlanta and the stars of this reality show.

In the Q&A, Cynthia mentions the Oprah segment about bra fit and letting her viewers know bras came bigger than a “D” caused their shop to be slammed with people, hour long waits and people driving from other states to be fitted. (Now you know how they ended up with a reality show.)

From the photo, you can see that they have the selection and if you watch just one 30-minute episode, you’ll know they have the expertise.

In the first of the three episodes I watched, Cynthia Richards took up the challenge of making a bra for the woman with the largest breasts in the world, Miss Annie Hawkins-Turner (aka Norma Stitz). For the first eight minutes I thought this was going to turn into every other sensationalized “reality” show, but I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that Cynthia Richards is a talented designer and experienced seamstress.

Set your DVR and like me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

If you’d like to order anything up from the Double Divas web site – you can go here:

http://www.liviraelingerie.com/

My Reasons for Watching “After The First 48” – Reality Show #3

I guess it was just a natural transition – that A&E would start airing the devastation that all those “First 48murders cause. In my “I should have been a TV Critic” mentality – I emailed them right after the premiere of the second season that I hope they would be doing just that. It actually took them several more years before my suggestion would come to fruition.

After The First 48 follows some of the most powerful cases of The First 48 through the criminal justice system. Through interviews with detectives, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the families of victims, viewers witness the dramatic and emotional inside story: from the investigation, to the murder trial, to the verdict and beyond.

The killers might be the “stars” on The First 48, but on After the First 48, the families have their opportunity to deliver justice and the audience gets a lesson in how the justice system works in various parts of the country. What’s really satisfying is witnessing the “closure” the families get after being victimized by killers for some of the most ridiculous reasons in the world.

What’s really dissatisfying is having to witness the families go through the trial after the killer has done a complete 180 from the ending of The First 48 to the beginning of After the First 48.

Take the case of a “blackout” murder of a family on Lester Street in Memphis, TN. Four adults and five children were viciously shot, stabbed and bludgeoned. Only three survived, all children. It was one of these children, who had a butcher knife lodged in his skull, that summoned the courage and told the police it was “junior” (Jessie Dotson) who attacked him and killed his family.

After the First 48 – Lester Street was a 2-hour episode steeped in controversy. Jessie Dotson, the brother of the murder victim and the uncle of the child who eventually led police to him, confessed to Lt. Toney Armstrong in the original First 48 Lester Street episode.

Jessie Dotson cried in his mother’s arms and asked her to forgive him for killing  her son (his brother) and some of her grandchildren. This episode boggled your mind. It was impossible for you to step into the shoes of any of those people because this was an absolutely horrible, vicious crime for stupid, senseless reasons.

Killing adults, killing your brother, but killing kids because they witness you killing your brother – chasing them around the house and sticking them with butcher knives or beating them with pieces of wood – I’m sorry but in my book you are going to prison and you are not getting out – ever.

And that’s what happened. Jessie Dotson was sentenced to six life sentences plus an additional 120 years in prison.

He received death sentences for the six people he murdered: his brother, Cecil, 30, and the “witnesses:” Marissa Williams, 27, Shindri Roberson, 22, Hollis Seals, 33; plus Cecil’s children, Cemario, 4, and Cecil II, 2.

He received 120 years for beating and stabbing three children who survived.

Memphis city leaders claimed the show, which received unprecedented access into the inner workings of the Memphis Police Department, shed a positive light on the homicide team but a negative light on the city, and the contract was cut short.

Jessie Dotson murdered his brother, the witnesses and two of his brother’s children on Lester Street in Memphis, TN.

Lady Justice and her scales are tested once again.