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Catching Killers

Catching Killers

  • Premiered: 
    June 17, 2012
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Smithsonian
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Docudrama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Crime
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Plot Synopsis

Featuring world-famous forensic scientists, historians and law enforcement officials who have been involved on high-profile murder cases over the last 50 years, this series reveals the invention, secrets, and development of forensic tools that are now commonly used by criminal investigators. Each 60-minute episode relives the history of a different forensic tool, including these tools in Season 1 when the series was known as FORENSIC FIRSTS: "DNA Profiling," highlighting two landmark cases -- the BTK killer and a serial rapist in a small English town -- that describe the history of genetic profiling as part of a new age of forensic science; "Fingerprints," reliving how fingerprinting was first used in 1892 to track down a child killer and then showing how the evolving science helped thwart a coldblooded serial killer a century later; "Skeletal Secrets," demonstrating how the victims' bones helped solve two cases in Illinois -- the Sausage King of Chicago and the Killer Clown -- by allowing forensic anthropologists to determine a person's age, sex, ancestry, stature, unique features and even cause of death; "Insect Evidence," showing how forensic entomology helped convict a killer, using maggots to determine the victim's time of death in Edinburgh in 1935 and the discovery of red-shanked grasshoppers caught in a suspect's car radiator grill in Bakersfield, CA in 2003; "Proving Poison," focusing on how toxicology has become an indispensable tool for detectives, having been used to explain a rash of unexplained deaths at a Northport, New York hospital in the 1990s and the suspicious death of a wealthy businessman in the 1840s; and "Smoking Gun," in which ballistic evidence played a key role in two cases -- absolving Charles Stielow, a man sentenced to death for a 1915 murder, and finding the DC Sniper in 2002. When this series returned for its second season on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 9pm ET -- with a new title, CATCHING KILLERS -- the program featured these seven forensic tools, each in its own episode: fire investigation, cyber forensics, criminal profiling, blood spatter, trace evidence, cause of death, and plant evidence.

Other Titles

  • Previously known as Crime Lab
  • Season 1 title: Forensic Firsts

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Smithsonian Channel
  • Produced by Story House Productions
  • Produced by Parthenon Entertainment