Everyone loves detective shows. Whether it’s the more recent brand of hard, dark detective series like CSI and True Detective, or the more upbeat classics like Murder She Wrote and Poirot, television audiences have always had a fascination with getting to the bottom of a murder.
And so it was only a matter of time before a career detective became the focus of a documentary series. This is where Homicide Hunter entered the fray. Starting in 2011 and now with five seasons under its belt, it recounts the exploits of Joseph Kenda, who was homicide detective for 19 years in Colorado.
Homicide Hunter has the classic docudrama style of re-enactment combined with narration from the detective, it brings a dose of realism and honesty to the murder detective genre. Nothing flashy, no annoying characters, just plain talking detective work and true stories of good police work. It also includes testimonies from other detectives involved in the cases, shedding light on the inner workings of the police in homicide investigating.
This realism has obviously gone down well with fans, as it boasts a fantastic rating of 8.9 on IMDB. For comparison, this is as high as Twin Peaks, another hugely successful detective series, and the genre-defining comedies Seinfeld and Friends.
The seasons have gotten progressively longer too, as there has been an increased appetite for stories of Kenda’s career, going from 6 in season one to 20 in season five. And there is plenty more juice to be squeezed from his lengthy time as a detective, seeing as he solved over 400 cases! And that’s not to mention the one’s he didn’t solve, which can often be the most interesting.
First hints of season 6 abounded as the lead actor who plays Kenda in the re-enactments, Carl Marino, said in an interview that he never expected the show to get to season 2, “…let alone season 6.” His pessimism partly stemmed from his first main role, in Trauma, ending early after the show was cancelled after one season.
Then, on Lieutenant Joe Kenda’s official website he made the announcement that the 6th season would commence in August, and would that, just as with season 5, 20 episodes for 20 murders will be the formula for the upcoming season. Expect to see the same narrators in Josh Causobon and Kenda himself, as well as Marino playing Kenda in the re-enactments.
Season 5 ended with the episode ‘My Tortured Soul’, which told the story of a woman’s body found dumped in a national park mountain trail, and the episode went to be a roller coaster of twists, with the case going cold before Kenda was presented with a second case that shed light on the first. The episode ended one solved and one remaining a mystery.
Season 6 will begin with its first episode titled ‘Sammie Denson/Pamela Edward’. Kenda and the show’s producers have remained tight-lipped on details of the upcoming season. However, we can surely expect more of the same pulsating, gritty and captivating viewing that the five previous seasons have provided. From the name of the announced episodes, it seems they have chosen a different tack and named the episodes after the victims rather than a general theme accompanying the episode’s portrayal of the investigation.
This could mean a few things. Firstly, it could mean a move away from creating a narrative or feeling with the episode and focusing more on the details of the investigation (each previous title related to an aspect of the investigation or the detective’s feelings). Or it could simply be a way to make the series easier to categorize for informative cataloguing purposes.
Either way, it will be well worth watching. Catch up on all previous episodes on Amazon video, and prepare for the new season’s airing in August on Investigation Discovery.