When Cold Justice season 6 premieres on Oxygen tonight, it’s with an episode that shows exactly why the series is in a class of its own in the true crime genre. “Holiday Homicide” is an episode that any other show couldn’t even dream of.
Kelly Siegler and Abbey Abbondandolo head to Stafford, Texas for the 2003 murder of Jerry Humphrey, whose work in the repossession business would seem to make him an easy target. When your living is taking away things from other people, some of those people might hold a grudge. So was it a disgruntled individual who shot Jerry while he slept just a few days before Christmas?
That’s the story that would seem to make sense, but Cold Justice very quickly reveals that the truth is much more complicated (and thus also makes it clear why no one has been charged for Jerry’s murder). The suspects in his death aren’t random people he interacted with at work, but those closest to him—including family members literally across the street from the house where he died.
How do you investigate a case like that? “Holiday Homicide” is not necessarily a whodunit, but more of a howdunit, both in how the case unfolds and in illustrating what law enforcement officers, Kelly and her team face in getting these cases to the finish line.
When you’re handling a case where there are multiple suspects who are all in close proximity to one another, and may or may not be involved, it completely changes the way you investigate. It becomes a series of actions and reactions, where every move made could possibly break open the case or destroy it. We see several examples of that over the hour, particularly in how Abbey questions people, as he works to get answers without showing the team’s hand.
There’s also a major stumbling block in the number of witnesses who don’t remember things from 17 years ago, or at least claim to not remember. “Holiday Homicide” might set a record for number of people blurred out in one episode of Cold Justice. There’s also one person who outright lies in their follow-up interview; you’ll know it when you see it, and it’s infuriating to watch happen. But that’s the rub of what Kelly and company do: while the passage of time sometimes brings new information to light, sometimes it can also mean losing information, too.
While the Jerry Humphrey case might not be the most surprising one ever tackled on Cold Justice, it’s an excellent representation of what the show is about and why it’s successful. Audiences get a clear grasp on why the investigative team does what they do, and the challenges in every cold case. It’s also great to see how well the Stafford officers work with Kelly and Abbey, because it’s important to remember that the local law enforcement officers are part of the team too, and have been living with these cases for years if not decades before Cold Justice comes to town.
If “Holiday Homicide” is any indication, Cold Justice season 6 might be the show’s best yet; if nothing else, it proves that there’s still hope out there for detectives, families and viewers alike.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.