No doubt, "true crime reality" is a saturated television genre. But there's always room for a new player if it stands out. And "Cold Justice," a new series starting Tuesday night at 10 on TNT, does just that.
"Cold Justice" features former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler and former Las Vegas crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary as they travel to small, mostly rural towns across America and work with local investigators to try and solve cold murder cases.
Both women have worked more than 25 years in their respective fields and are considered "legends" by their peers. (McClary is the inspiration for the Marg Helgenberger character in "CSI.") In the two episodes provided in advance by TNT, Siegler and McClary bring along other expert investigators, including retired homicide detective Johnny Bonds, who worked over 1,000 murder cases in his 30-year career. And he is a TV natural.
The show is produced by Dick Wolfe of "Law & Order" fame, and I have no idea if that's why, but "Cold Justice" is pretty different from any true crime reality show I've seen. The episodes play more like mini-documentaries than what we think of as "reality TV." The cases aren't sensationalized for the cameras and the families involved don't feel exploited. In fact, the families -- and the frustrated investigators -- seem grateful for a shot at closure.
But what really sells the show is the obvious dedication of Siegler and McClary, whose goal is to help under-resourced police departments deliver prosecutable cases to local district attorneys. If TNT is willing to finance that endeavor, then I'll watch all 8 of the commissioned episodes -- and eagerly wait for more.