Investigation TV Shows

Investigative television programs are shows that examine a subject, most often a crime, in detail, focusing on the process of solving the crime or resolving the situation in question. They are sometimes similar in form to a documentary film or a newsmagazine program, but in many cases, investigative programs are concerned as much with entertainment as they are with the presentation of facts. In some cases, the programs are so infused with elements of entertainment that they are structured much like a police procedural drama.

Investigative programs that follow the newsmagazine model present themselves as journalism rather than entertainment. In these shows, a reporter or host usually narrates the story and may even appear on camera, conducting interviews and guiding the viewer through the story.

An investigative program built in the style of a true-crime documentary typically dispenses with the host, but the story may still be told by an unseen narrator. The story of the crime is usually presented chronologically, but it is often unveiled slowly, with details doled out dramatically in order to maximize suspense. In this way, the programs at least somewhat abandon the pretense of objective journalism in favor of entertainment value.

Some investigative programs step even further away journalism by staging dramatic recreations of the events of the story. The recreations may feature the story's original participants and locations, but more often the recreated films are filmed using actors. The recreations are generally clearly presented as staged, but in some programs, the staged footage is incorporated in a way that blurs the line between reality and dramatization.