In so many ways, murder is the most unbearable of crimes. Certainly there’s no getting over it for the victim, but it also permanently impacts the victim’s family, loved ones and the community at large. And for the investigator who assembles the evidence to solve the crime and put the killer away? It’s often one more traumatic experience catalogued amid many others. It’s this backlog of disturbing memories that’s at the heart of Investigation Discovery’s new series Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda, premiering Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 10pm ET/PT.
Psychologically and emotionally, homicide investigators must have one of the most taxing careers on the planet. There’s always another case — many running concurrently, unlike the neat and clean TV procedural shows that tidily solve one crime and quickly move on to the next episode — and the raw brutality they witness from day to day is enough to drive anyone to despair. Lt. Joe Kenda saw it all in his 23 years on the force with the Colorado Springs Police Department, and not even 13 years of retirement could quell the emotional turbulence that’s still a part of his daily life. Homicide Hunter is his chance to try to get back some of the peace he’s lost over the years, by opening his case files and revisiting these heinous crimes.
“I developed a heart made of railroad steel for these moments,” Lt. Kenda says, describing what it took to get through investigations that brought him in contact with such savage behavior. “I worried about that sometimes. This process has allowed me to come to terms with a lot of these memories. I don’t want to tell these stories. I need to.”
Each one-hour episode of Homicide Hunter finds Lt. Kenda returning to his “Murder Books” to review one of the 387 investigations that his team solved and tracing, in detail, the process of how they went from examining evidence at the crime scene to finding and interpreting clues, drumming up leads and eventually determining and capturing the killer. It’s a fascinating process for the viewer, and a powerfully cathartic personal journey for Lt. Kenda as he gives air to the stifling nightmares that have been locked inside him for decades.
Photo: Kim Cook/Investigation Discovery