Clockwise from upper left: Correspondent Peter Van Sant, contributor Jim Axelrod (on right), contributor Jonathan Vigliotti, correspondent Erin Moriarty (on left), contributor Michelle Miller
blood samples in a bustling neon metropolis. It airs on Saturday nights just before the local news. And yet each episode features nail-biting tension and an array of colorful characters. And the heroes are solving crimes in real life, thank you very much. Though 48 Hours has aired since 1988, I can’t remember when I got hooked. A true-crime fan since adolescence (don’t judge!), I devour twisty whodunits and admire that each episode opens the door to a certain life beyond my recognition. Ideally, a case ends with a clear-cut solution, with DNA and fingerprints to provide a little justice and closure. And yet the murkiness allows for high-level analysis in which I’m the judge and jury and can render my own verdict. That is, unless my friends are watching, too, and influence me with their opinions. The beauty of 48 Hours is that it pres- ents all the evidence in a no-nonsense, evenhanded documentary style. Instead of relying on hokey reenactments and voice-of-God narration, the show gives way to correspondents on the ground who interview witnesses, suspects, and authority figures. In fact, the who, what,
where, when, and why are presented before the opening credits sequence. Speaking of which, it’s a blur of unset- tling images. Do the birds flying over barren trees represent a winter of discon- tent? Help! Once the correspondents are assigned to a story, they don’t let go. This dogged reporting has put a spotlight on contro- versial rulings, leading to actual change within the system. I was personally invested in the case of Ryan Ferguson, a student arrested for a parking lot mur- der in the small Missouri town where I attended college. My girl Erin checked in on him several times over the years and was literally right there as his conviction was overturned and he left jail. That’s just one of several examples. It’s entirely possible my 48 Hours ritual borders on unhealthy. There’s still a horrific crime at the heart of every case, and that’s not lost on me. But in a chaotic world, how comforting and cathartic to know that I can always rely on a crack- ling good-versus-evil story. Somewhere a mystery is unraveling. I’ll be there, watching and ready to pounce on the drama.
Crimes of Passion Why I Love 48 Hours BY MARA REINSTEIN
Is now a good time to reveal that I once casually stalked Erin Moriarty? This was a few years ago when a friend took me to the network Christmas party at a fancy Manhattan restaurant. At first the only person who caught my attention was the waiter passing around the pigs in a blanket. Then I spotted the sleekly dressed veteran 48 Hours correspondent. Ahhh!!! I inched closer. And closer. I watched her talk to an authoritative- looking executive and sip her drink. Closer. Closer . Finally, a break in the action. I took a deep breath and made the approach. “Excuse me, I just want to say that I’m such a fan and I’m totally obsessed with 48 Hours !” I chirped. I may or may not have also blurted out why I wasn’t 100% convinced Robert Wagner was involved in Natalie Wood’s death. So, in conclusion, 48 Hours is my show. This is not the cool pick. Nobody is jet- ting off to an exotic island or analyzing
JULY/AUGUST • 2022
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