The First 48 has spurred confusion for viewers since it premiered on A&E back on June 3, 2004.

The show revolves around a team of detectives who try to solve homicides in the cities of the United States.

Each episode starts with a new case and shows the journey of the investigators as they use scientific techniques, including forensic evidence and witness interviews, to find the culprit. 

The installment usually documents the first 48 hours of the detectives' research, going with the theory that suspects must be recognized within 48 hours; otherwise, the chances of solving the case would be cut in half. 


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And as the show takes viewers into detailed crime scenes, the official site of the series claims the scene, the people, and investigations are real. However, the internet is divided regarding the same. 

Some believe that the show is authentic, while others are still wondering,  

Is The First 48 Real?

The First 48 is reportedly as real as it can be. Various people affiliated with the shows have come forward vouching for the claim. 

In 2012, a former producer and shooter for the program created a Reddit thread for an AMA session. In the post, the person who kept his identity concealed stressed that it was "the REALEST" docu-series he had ever done. 

He reiterated that there was no other TV program that could call itself true Verte (a production term standing for Truth.) The person explained that working on the cases had a personal impact on his life.

The crimes made him realize that all of his problems combined would still not account for some issues people faced out there. He would be grateful for the peace he had in his life with his kids, wife, and career. 

Detectives David Quinn and Vincent Velazquez during an investigation on The First 48 in 2015.

Detectives David Quinn and Vincent Velazquez during an investigation on 'The First 48' in 2015. (Photo: Instagram)

In addition, the former crew member shared how he had once gotten close to a victim's family. As per his accounts, the victim shared his birthday and the vehicle. Because of the similarities, perhaps, he embedded himself into the case. 

The victim's father would call him and express his grievances with him. He even went to all her funerals and the burial. "It was the most I had cried while shooting," he recounted. 

In the same thread, the person weighed in on the show's protocols, clarifying it was 100% real. He wrote not every family member opts to be on TV.

In his own words, if they didn't sign a release form, the production team couldn't reveal their faces. Hence, they blur the image of those people. 

'The First 48's Botched Investigations

While the show aims to solve the case within 48 hours, there have been multiple assertions that it puts unnecessary pressure on police departments to rush their investigation

Consequently, the reality docu-series has aired multiple cases where people are wrongly accused of crimes.

For instance, then 18-year-old Cameron Coker was falsely accused and sentenced to prison. He spent nearly three years after witnesses repudiated the claims.

Likewise, a 21-year-old Taiwan Smart was sent to jail for two counts of second-degree murder of his two roommates. His story aired on TV, and the infamy reached places. 

But later, it turned out the investigators had made major mistakes. Smart was released in June 2011.