The Shift: Homicide Detectives At Work

The Shift is a television reality show that uses no actors. It isn’t 100 percent reality due to names being changed, in some shows to protect witnesses and investigation which is mentioned as the shows open.

It is close to reality as possible for a homicide detective show. The part I like best is that the show lets you follow a case, from the crime scene, to the investigation, to the questioning of witnesses.

All of the shows are about the homicide detectives, working for the Indianapolis Police Department. When they receive a call to go to a crime scene, they drop whatever they are doing, including leaving half-eaten meals on the table at a restaurant.

Birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions come second, once the detectives are called to a crime scene. These detectives start their investigation, as soon as they are called to a crime scene. Looking at a gruesome scene of a crime is no fun, but these detectives have to be there to gather facts and interview any witnesses.

The hardest job for the homicide detectives is notifying the family of the victim. There is no good way to let a family know, that a family member has died, but it has to be done.

The Shift is different from First 48 in that there is usually only one crime being investigated. The First 48 is a good show, but it gets confusing as they switch from one city to another often during the show. After watching a few shows, you almost feel like you know the detectives, since they don’t change from week to week like First 48.

The detectives have to interview grieving family members, to find out what may have caused the murder of the victim. It is not easy asking questions of a distraught family member, who is so overcome with grief, that they can’t focus on the questions and give coherent answers.

One particular show was baffling in that they heard a call from a jail to the two suspects. The two suspects were heard telling the inmate, that they were about to kill someone. Apparently they neglected to notice the recording that said phone calls would be monitored.

The criminals are talking to the inmate after arriving at the crime scene and you can hear the gunshots in the background.  One of the suspects is telling the other to shut off the phone. The detectives are talking about how the jurors will love to hear those phone calls.

However, when the outcome is shown at the end of the show, they tell us that one had the charges dismissed against him and the other guy is found not guilty. So instead of sending these two guys to prison, they are set free and walking the streets of Indianapolis. It would have been interesting to have been at the trial, to see how it played out and if there was a problem with the taped evidence from the conversations of the alleged criminals.

I watched one show in which the detectives separated two suspects and told the other suspect that the other suspect had implicated the one they were interviewing, when in fact the other suspect had refused to talk to the detectives.

The worst case scenario for the homicide detectives is for a suspect to ask for a lawyer, which ends the interview abruptly and leaving the detectives to search for more evidence, since they couldn’t get a confession.

It is surprising though how many suspects, will break down and confess the crime, when they could have asked for a lawyer and avoided further questioning. The detectives will tell the suspects to tell the truth, because they will feel better, when in fact they are more or less sending themselves to prison by admitting they were the killer.

The detectives read the rights of the suspects, before questioning them, so their confession will stand up in courtroom.

The Shift is currently on Netflix, but no new shows have been made recently. Their Facebook page is full of viewers wanting the show brought back. It is my favorite show of that type and can be addictive, since it interesting, to see how police go about their investigation and how the suspects try to manipulate the police by lying to them, which really infuriates the detectives and you can’t blame them for being upset. The detectives if they have enough evidence will have the suspect tell their side. If they refuse to co-operate, then they will return them to their cell.

The show follows the homicide detectives, when they pay a surprise visit to a suspect’s home and wherever they are living at the time. One show followed the detectives to Minneapolis, when they found out the suspect had left the state, but came back empty-handed, when the suspect didn’t confess, so they had no choice, but to let them go.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

One thought on “The Shift: Homicide Detectives At Work”

  1. Dear sirs
    I always look at your program very interesting. I have a comment on one of the investigation; I don’t remember the name of the victim but there was one thing that stand out was the guy with the capt on his head. He stated that he was there at the house to look for a Possum. The lady was stab to death and it had a note writing on the wall stating how her boyfriend threatened to kill her. I look at the video and the same guy that sat in the interview with the capt on his head, he had the same blue jacket on when he tried to hide his face from the surveillance camera by the neighbor. If you did not get your guy, you should look at the video again.

    Kenneth; from Aruba Caribbean

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