One show that always keeps me hooked is the CBS Sunday Night Crime Drama “Cold Case“. I have always been a fan of the CourtTV and Discovery programs about forensics, case files and all that, but to make a unique twist to the whole process by re-enacting the timelines as the cops follow through… keeps me coming back.

The first time I caught this show a few years back, it was really on a whim. I thought it was just another CSI rip-off, playing on the popularity of the hit. But by the end of that episode I realized that there was such a cool difference in the presentation of ‘historic’ cases instead of real-time.

Ok, so it may be a bit far fetched that the Phillie Cold Case Squad has 6 or 7 detectives working a single old case off a tiny new lead, and the fact that in order for this story to work, no witness ever lies… I mean they never flash back and replace what one guy said for what another said, sometimes (usually) they fill the blanks in each witnesses story, but they must be some kind of amazing cops to get everyone, even the eventually exposed criminal to tell it like it was.

Another great thing is the storyline of the characters themselves, over the past few seasons we get to learn about who and where these guys came from, but with the perfect amount of constraint. Their lives are not important to the episode at hand, and watching one episode is as easy to follow as the whole series, you can walk away feeling like you knew what was going on that whole time. Backstory knowledge was just a bonus.

So it doesn’t get the attention too much, usually flying under the radar, and almost always screwing with my DVR (because of CBS football and 60 minutes pushing it out if it’s normal slot every week), but this show is one of my stable favorites. I will always watch it when I want a show that is not just a time killer, but something to follow. That damn technique for the slow release of information over the whole hour, building to an apex and slam, resolution with 5 minutes to wrap it up in a box and say good bye to the cold case victim.

Keep up the ‘Cases’, the only thing that could turn this show in the wrong direction would be to start repeating scenarios or focusing on character development for subpar ‘case files’… but I dont see that happening soon (The writing has been creative so far!)

If you follow the real life case shows and are looking for a great fictional one that gives you the same feeling, check out ‘Cold Case’ Sundays on CBS (about 9pm, unless it is football season, Arghhh).