Producer Dick Wolf and TNT announced there will be a Season 2 of their new hit reality crime show "Cold Justice". The show, which features veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler, former CSI Yolanda McClary, detective Johnnie Bond and other members of local law enforcement communities will air another ten episodes beginning with the Season Two premiere on Friday, January 17 2014.
The show premiered in the fall of 2013 and nabbed an impressive market share, and the team's very first televised cold case netted a murder confession from 41 year old Ronnie Hendrick. In 2001, Pamela Shelly was found dead in the bathroom of the home she shared with Hendricks and her children. She died from a gunshot wound to the head, her death initially ruled a suicide - but law enforcement was skeptical of the suicide angle from the start, especially after learning that Shelly had loaded up all of her belongings onto a trailer and was ready to move out when she reportedly killed herself!
In addition to the timing of the "suicide", Shelly's 10 year old daughter reportedly told the police that she saw Ronnie Hendrick shoot her mother in the head. How many times have we heard that the most dangerous time for an abused woman's life is when they try to leave? This proved to be true for Pamela Shelly. Ronnie Hendrick escaped justice for 12 years until Siegler and McClary took a fresh look at the cold case. Who knows if he ever would have been held accountable had they not. Things didn't go smoothly when it came time for jury selection in this case. The District Attorney's office ran into a big problem when it polled 60 potential jurors, and more than one third of them admitted they had watched the Cold Justice episode and had already formed an opinion on the case. A mistrial was declared, but Hendricks eventually plead guilty in exchange for a 22 year prison sentence.
Kelly Siegler added "the shows ability to affect potential jurors is unlikely to happen again. In every other case, the show will air way before any trial setting comes up, so there's plenty of time and distance to minimize the effect of the show. This one was different, because it was the pilot. In all circumstances except for the pilot, the show will air long before a local district attorney will be ready to go to trial."
I think Cold Justice is a really good show. I like the shows concept, and in just a single season it netted some real results, those ladies (and gentlemen) made a real difference in those small communities they traveled to. I get the sense that Siegler and McClary are not in this for the glitz and glamour of the television viewers, it feels like something much bigger for them. They truly seem to care about these forgotten cold cases, and if they have the chance to help bring a murderer to justice they are all in. I enjoyed all episodes in Season One, but I especially enjoyed the episode that brought Siegler back to her home town - watching her interact with her father who still owns and operates as the town's barber (in a barbershop/liquor store!) and seeing her high school friends, many of which still live in the same small town she grew up in.
Kelly Siegler is definitely a self-made woman, and her impressive record as a prosecutor was the result of sheer tenacity and her no nonsense style. She wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and maybe that's why I admire her. As a Harris County prosecutor, Siegler tried 68 murder cases and won them all. Many of them were high profile, but perhaps the case that she's most well known for is Texas v. Susan Wright. Her dramatic courtroom performance, said to be over-the-top by some and the gruesome nature of the crime spawned a Lifetime movie called "Blue Eyed Butcher".
Siegler personally pitched the idea for Cold Justice to producer Dick Wolf who immediately liked it. In each episode, Siegler and McClary travel to a small town and meet with local detectives and learn everything they can about the unsolved murder case they have taken on. They visit the crime scene, spend an average of 10 days reviewing the evidence, in some cases sending evidence to the crime lab for new analysis - since new technology and testing methods have given law enforcement tools they didn't have access to or didn't exist when the crimes were committed, they re-interview family members and witnesses and seek out new witnesses before assembling a list of potential suspects on a big board. Together, they compile a list of physical and circumstantial evidence pointing to or away from each suspect until they reach a consensus.
If they believe they have enough evidence pointing to a likely suspect, Siegler writes up a report and delivers it to the local district attorneys office. From there, the DA either agrees to bring the case to a grand jury or in some cases the DA passes if they believe it lacks enough evidence to indict. It's fascinating to see how our justice system works, and in some cases to see where our process falls short. Siegler and McClary seem to have good on-air chemistry, and Johnnie Bonds is a great detective and a master interrogator. I love this show, so I was more than pleased to see that TNT has ordered another 10 episodes for Season Two. I'm waiting to see if they release an episode guide for next season, as they did for Season One. It's interesting to see which cases they are taking on, and to look back at the old news stories online about these cold cases before watching Cold Justice take on a case.