Cold Case makes me cry. Every goddamn time.

In case it's not on TV where you are, YouTube has a bunch of episodes, which you can easily find by searching. You'll be able to actually buy it somewhere between next century and never. By the time this gets released on home video, not only will you be watching it on microchips plugged directly into your brain, but you'll be able to buy head-chips in shatter-proof plastic cases with Hello Kitty on the front.

The main problem is the music rights. See, Cold Case, as the name suggests, is a cop series focused on a (fictional) division of the Philadelphia police department that specializes in solving murders, and occasionally other things, where the trail has long since faded. In the cases I've seen, the actual crime happened anywhere from a few years before the "present", all the way back to one set in the beginning of the Great Depression  The interviewees tell their stories to the investigators in flashback format, all of which are scored with well-known songs that would have been playing on the radio around the time of the crime. (The only exception I know of is in the case that happened in 1929; the song "300 Flowers" was original, written for the episode, and is hauntingly beautiful.) Unless and until the revolution happens and the RIAA as a whole is blindfolded and stood up against a wall, the cost of clearing so ridiculously many pieces of music for commercial DVD release would jack the price of any season box set up far past what any sane human would pay for a TV show, so it isn't going to happen.

[Similar problems prevented Daria from being released for umpty zillion years. The series originally aired on MTV, who already had broadcast rights to all the Billboard Top 40 songs they used for obvious reasons; apparently either no one thought about it, or it was never particularly intended for home video release. They eventually compromised on clearing the music rights for the movies, but simply snipped almost all of it out of the episodes -- leaving most of them completely silent, other than dialogue and plot-relevant sound effects.]

The series has a remarkable attention to detail. I can't speak to things like cars, but they had an excellent track record on getting the technology and the costuming correct for the time period. They occasionally fall down when trying to cast a present-day and flashback actor who look enough alike to be the same person, but that's tricky at the best of times. One thing that really sells the flashback scenes as genuinely taking place in the past is that all of them are either shot on old/repro vintage film, or treated digitally to mimic the look of the film stock that would have been used at the time -- it's one of the few productions that convincingly makes the 1970s look like the 1970s, as filtered through 1970s television.

The cases are generally uncovered Rashomon-style. Sometimes they get emotional confessions; mostly they don't. Most of the crimes are solved by Lily or the supporting detective realizing that two or more people are telling the truth about what happened, but that the snippets of story can be put together to reveal what's been left out, which contains the key to the whodunit. More than one case hinges on Person A recounting one conversation with the victim, and Person B recounting another one, where only by realizing that Person C must have given the victim some important piece of information in between the two can both of them make sense. It's a particularly convincing way to solve cold cases where no new physical evidence has turned up, as lacunae are much more likely to have been overlooked for thirty years than actual facts.

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