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The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

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The First 48 Films NOPD's Homicide Detectives

May 24, 2013

The highly-acclaimed, documentary-style television show- “The First 48”- today will start filming New Orleans Police Department’s Homicide detectives and their mission to solve murders.  The show, which is in its 14th season on A&E, is a reality series which gives an inside look at the tireless work done by these detectives. The first 48 hours after a homicide are believed to be the most crucial in an investigation- as the case is still fresh in terms of evidence and witnesses’ memories.  This is how the show got its name.  The show’s cameras will follow detectives through every stage of murder investigations- at crime scenes, through their quest for evidence, during interviews with witnesses and suspects, as well as through meetings with victims’ loved ones. 

The First 48 crews will stay with detectives for the duration.  In some cases, that could mean for a period of days until an arrest is made.  In other cases, it could be for several months. New Orleans residents who happen to be near murder scenes will be asked beforehand whether they agree to be filmed.  No resident will be filmed who does not want to be filmed. 

“The most the people of New Orleans have seen of our homicide detectives is glances of them on murder scenes, or possibly 12-second sound bites they’ve given on the local news.  The First 48 is documentary-style television, and will allow residents to see the extraordinary effort, dedication and perseverance our detectives demonstrate in each and every murder case”, said Superintendent Ronal Serpas. 

In its 9 years of production, The First 48 has worked in 20 cities, including Dallas, Birmingham, Phoenix, Cleveland and Memphis. Its producers chose to approach each city for a variety of reasons.

The First 48 Executive Producer Alexis Robie said, “New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in America. Its diversity, vibrant culture and rich history have made it a city The First 48 has hoped to document for years. We are excited that the time has come’. 

‘New Orleans is also a city going through a transformation – for the better. NOPD is a perfect example of this. Our program will not only document the important work being done by the officers, but it will also bring more transparency to the department, which we know is a top priority of Mayor Landrieu’s administration”.   

The show is credited with helping local communities get a better understanding and appreciation of the kind of work their officers do, which sometimes results in more locals calling their police departments to report crimes or offer information about cases.  Some cities have seen an uptick in recruitment efforts, as some viewers develop an interest in working in law enforcement.  And in some cases, viewers have become such fans of the show, that they call local police departments and ask for certain detectives by name after they’ve witnessed or learned something about a crime, and have a newfound faith in the investigators they’ve seen on TV. 

Superintendent Serpas said, “Since I joined law enforcement 32 years ago, it became immediately clear to me that a police department is only part of the solution when it comes to crime-fighting.  Police Departments are only successful if they have the backing and trust of the people they serve.  The First 48 gives residents more of the full picture of what our detectives do.  It shows that our investigators have a lot of heart, and that they care about the victims of murder, as well as their families.  This show will bring this department the positive exposure it deserves, and it will have a positive effect on the relationship between our officers and the people of New Orleans.” 

Episodes of The First 48 that feature New Orleans homicide detectives will most likely begin airing late this fall.  The city’s access agreement with the show has a one-year duration.   

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Contact:  Remi Braden

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Last updated: 5/24/2013 12:37:38 PM

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