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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The First 48
The First 48.jpg
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons22
No. of episodes456 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • David Eilenberg
  • Maija Norris
  • Elaine Frontain Bryant
  • Peter Tarshis
  • Laura Fleury
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time42 minutes
Production companyITV Entertainment
Original networkA&E
Original releaseJune 3, 2004 (2004-06-03) –
present (present)
Related shows
External links

The First 48 is an American documentary television series on A&E filmed in various cities in the United States, offering an insider's look at the real-life world of homicide investigators. While the series often follows the investigations to their end, it usually focuses on their first 48 hours, hence the title.

Each episode picks one or more homicides in different cities, covering each alternately, showing how detectives use forensic evidence, witness interviews, and other advanced investigative techniques to identify suspects. While most cases are solved within the first 48 hours, some go on days, weeks, months or even years after the first 48.[citation needed]

The series was nominated for a Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award in the Continuing Series category by the International Documentary Association, eventually losing to PBS' American Experience. By season 6, The First 48 had become the highest-rated non-fiction justice series on television and has gained critical acclaim along with controversy.[1] The season 8 episode, "Gone", which aired on January 1, 2009, garnered a domestic audience of 2.3 million viewers, becoming the series' most-watched episode at the time.[2]

Title sequence

Until the 1st episode of the 12th season, the opening title sequence featured the conceptual statement "For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving a murder is cut in half if they don't get a lead within the first 48 hours." The original soundtrack, opening title theme and dark ambient sound design for the overall program was composed by Chuck Hammer (2004–2006). Later composers included Brian and Justin Deming (2006–2008) and Paul Brill (2008–2018), who continued with a combination of dark ambient music integrated with sound design.[citation needed]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113June 3, 2004 (2004-06-03)November 18, 2004 (2004-11-18)
213January 6, 2005 (2005-01-06)August 11, 2005 (2005-08-11)
312October 6, 2005 (2005-10-06)March 2, 2006 (2006-03-02)
419June 15, 2006 (2006-06-15)December 28, 2006 (2006-12-28)
524January 11, 2007 (2007-01-11)September 20, 2007 (2007-09-20)
618October 11, 2007 (2007-10-11)April 10, 2008 (2008-04-10)
718May 15, 2008 (2008-05-15)December 9, 2008 (2008-12-09)
824January 1, 2009 (2009-01-01)September 15, 2009 (2009-09-15)
924January 14, 2010 (2010-01-14)August 12, 2010 (2010-08-12)
1023September 30, 2010 (2010-09-30)April 7, 2011 (2011-04-07)
1120May 12, 2011 (2011-05-12)January 19, 2012 (2012-01-19)
1223March 8, 2012 (2012-03-08)October 11, 2012 (2012-10-11)
1317November 15, 2012 (2012-11-15)June 6, 2013 (2013-06-06)
1416August 8, 2013 (2013-08-08)December 27, 2013 (2013-12-27)
1523February 28, 2014 (2014-02-28)November 17, 2014 (2014-11-17)
1614January 1, 2015 (2015-01-01)May 21, 2015 (2015-05-21)
1730November 5, 2015 (2015-11-05)September 5, 2016 (2016-09-05)
1822December 1, 2016 (2016-12-01)August 3, 2017 (2017-08-03)
1928October 19, 2017 (2017-10-19)October 25, 2018 (2018-10-25)
2017January 10, 2019 (2019-01-10)May 16, 2019 (2019-05-16)
2154January 1, 2020 (2020-01-01)August 26, 2021 (2021-08-26)
22TBAOctober 21, 2021 (2021-10-21)TBA


After the First 48 title card
After the First 48 title card

The series has several follow-up episodes entitled After the First 48—detailing the trials of those accused in previous episodes—and the aftermath of victims' survivors. The First 48: Missing Persons follows the same story format as the original series. The Killer Speaks depicts convicted felons as they describe their crimes through their first-hand accounts. The latest spin-off, Marcia Clark Investigates: The First 48, follows a similar story format but focuses on highly publicized cases such as those of Casey Anthony, Drew Peterson and Robert Blake, presented by O. J. Simpson trial prosecutor Marcia Clark.[citation needed]


A 2016 study by The New York Times of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook likes found that The First 48 "has a classic Black Belt audience pattern."[3]


On November 18, 2009, 21-year-old Taiwan Smart of Miami was charged with two counts of second-degree murder of his two roommates in Little Haiti.[4] His story aired later as an episode titled "Inside Job." Evidence later established that police made important mistakes in their investigation. Additionally, The First 48 misrepresented a key witness' statement on the program. Smart was released in June 2011 and has since sued the city of Miami for false imprisonment. The episode, which originally aired on July 15, 2010, continues to air without correction.[4] In 2014, the city of Miami announced that it would be ending its contract with A&E, ending any future productions of The First 48.[citation needed]

On May 16, 2010, 7-year-old Aiyana Jones of Detroit was shot and killed during a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) raid that was recorded by The First 48 cameras.[5] Detroit SWAT units raided the duplex while searching for a homicide suspect. On October 5, 2011, prosecutors charged the Detroit police officer with the involuntary manslaughter of Jones. Allison Howard, an A&E Television Network camera operator filming that night, was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice after lying under oath.[6] She pleaded no contest to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to two years of probation.[7]

On December 16, 2015, Shawn Peterson pled guilty to manslaughter for the triple murder of his ex-girlfriend, Christine George, her son, Leonard and her daughter, Trisa in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. Peterson's defense attorneys argued that producers from The First 48 withheld video evidence that could have exonerated their client. A judge rejected the motion but conceded that the show did complicate the case.[8] In 2016, the city of New Orleans announced that it would be ending its contract with A&E, ending any future productions of The First 48 or Nightwatch, another A&E show set in New Orleans.[9] On November 6, 2020, it was announced that filming for Nightwatch would resume filming in New Orleans after a three year hiatus but no such announcement was made for The First 48.[10]


  1. ^ "Breaking News - A&E Real Life Series - the First 48 & Swat Return for Sixth and Third Seasons Respectively". June 27, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  2. ^ "Breaking News - A&E Kicked Off the New Year with the Record Breaking Season Premiere of 'The First 48'". January 5, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  3. ^ Katz, Josh (December 27, 2016). "'Duck Dynasty' vs. 'Modern Family': 50 Maps of the U.S. Cultural Divide". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b "The First 48 Makes Millions Off Imprisoning Innocents". Miami New Times. January 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "Lawyer questions police version of raid that killed girl". CNN. May 17, 2010.
  6. ^ "Nightcap - A Different Kind of News". Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  7. ^ "Allison Howard, 'The First 48' Videographer, Pleads in Fatal Detroit Raid That Killed Aiyana-Stanley Jones". June 21, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  8. ^ Paul Purpura (July 17, 2015). "Judge Ends The First 48 Debate".
  9. ^ Mike Scott (June 1, 2016). "New Orleans Ending Contracts with A&E's 'First 48' and 'Nightwatch'".
  10. ^ Ramon Antonio Vargas (November 7, 2020). "'Nightwatch' returning to New Orleans to film city's paramedics on the job".

External links

This page was last edited on 29 December 2021, at 17:11
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