Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cold Case

I've been intending to blog about Cold Case (CBS, Sundays 9pm ET) for a while now, but tonight was the final straw. For those who don't know, Cold Case is a police procedural with a couple of twists. Fronted by a charismatic detective (Kathryn Morris, whom I'm forever mixing up with Kyra Sedgwick) and a solid support team of dedicated officers, the group specializes in investigating and solving homicide cases that are many years old. The genius of the show is to fully immerse the viewer in the world and time that the crime occurred, be it in the swinging sixties, the rock 'n' roll fifties, the roaring twenties or more recently. Also refreshing is that the crimes are usually true to life and close to home - reflecting issues of bigotry, xenophobia, prejudice and the mores of the time period involved.

It's probably the best edited show on (US) television, effortlessly switching between the present and the past and - very effectively - showing young protagonists morphing into older suspects and vice-versa. Watching the transformations, you can't help but be struck by the impact of crimes and experiences on young lives as they carry their burdens down a long and lonely road.

My favorite aspect of the show, however, is the use of music. One episode featured Bruce Springsteen songs exclusively. Other episodes use modern artists such as KT Tunstall in creative settings. Classic rock 'n' roll tracks soundtrack a '50's episode. Today, for a murder dating from 1982, artists included Joy Division, Psychedelic Furs and - awesomely - the sublime Cure track "Secrets" from the underrated 17 Seconds album. Whoever puts these together is one heck of a DJ. At the end of every episode, there is a closing montage where the ghosts of the past find peace in the present, all soundtracked like an alternative MTV video with much more emotional impact. Tonight's episode, based on the murder of a serial rapist at a university campus, ended to the swooping synths of Duran Duran's "Save A Prayer". Previous show enders include Paul Westerberg's "A Good Day", Michael Jackson's "Man In The Mirror", and KT Tunstall's "The Other Side of the World". Here's an example of a typical ending montage:

A full list of the show's sountracks is here

Do yourself a favor and watch this show first chance you get.

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