On the surface, every show on the Investigation Discovery channel is essentially the same program: some sort of reenactment of a crime, told through a mix narration, interviews and reenacted footage. But one of the interesting things for me in 2016 was watching as the network began trying to find new ways to tell those stories. Trying to figure out how to breathe more creativity into a genre that in the wrong hands can be predictable and boring.
While "Murder Chose Me" doesn't officially premiere until January 15th, it's one of the shows the network sneak previewed on New Year's Day. And based on the pilot, it provides a new interesting creative tweak of the genre. Even of it isn't always successful.
The title of the show is uncharacteristically vague for the network, with "Murder Chose Me" almost sounding like a series devoted to victims who had always believed they were going to die. In reality. the show centers around Shreveport, La. detective Rod Demery, who spent 14 years as a homicide detective. He managed to get a confession and conviction on 100% of the cases in which he was a lead detective, so he obviously has some serious investigative skills. Demery is also a good focus for a show, since his brooding, moody on-camera demeanor works well with this type of show.
In fact, the producers seem to have decided to use Demery's personality as the creative inspiration for the tone of the show. "Murder Chose Me" is filled with dark, moody tracking shots and plenty of shots featuring Demery staring thoughtfully into the distance. Combined with a slightly more theatrical look to the recreations, the show pushes more into the arena of being a scripted series based on a real life story.
Weirdly, the weakest part of the premiere episode was the case itself. Without giving anything away, the episode has Demery solving the case pretty much by just talking to a couple of the most obvious suspects and then getting a confession. I suspect the real-life investigation was a lot more complex, but that doesn't come across in the episode.
I'm interested in seeing more of "Murder Chose Me" to see if the producers are able to find a consistent tone for the show and if future episodes included cases that are a bit more surprising. Still, the show is a nice addition to the network and the tweaks in the format make me more optimistic about the creative future of the network.
"Murder Chose Me" officially premieres on Wednesday, January 15th, at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.