Table of content    
  1. How Real Is The First 48?
  2. Do the People on The First 48 Get Paid?
  3. Fun Facts about The First 48

Is The First 48 Real? Do People Get Paid?

Yes, The First 48 is real. This super popular reality show, launched in 2004, offers a real, behind-the-scenes look into the world of criminal investigations. Living up to its name, it focuses on the super important first 2 days following a crime. Actual detectives are featured as they engage in detective stuff – from interviewing witnesses to analyzing clues from the lab.

Each 45-minute episode really shows what it's like, marked by no drama added and no Hollywood glamor. The series' good filming, coupled with precise editing and informative narration, further enhances its authenticity. Despite parts where the story jumps, "The First 48" stands out for presenting a really lifelike portrayal of the tough and detailed real stuff of solving crimes.


How Real Is The First 48?

Is The First 48 Real Source: The First 48
"The First 48" closely mirrors real-life investigations, presenting a highly authentic view of working murder cases. The show’s tagging along with cops style grants viewers a first-time view into the daily operations of homicide squads in over a dozen cities. It exposes the really detailed and thorough nature of digging into crime scenes, the never giving up on witnesses, and the really hard emotionally task of notifying victims' families.

These depictions underscore the difficulty and danger inherent in such work, especially when compounded by the presence of a filming crew. Despite the show’s dedication to authenticity, it has faced challenges and criticisms, particularly in light of what people think about cops. Its representation of the complex and challenging nature of homicide investigation has contributed to its both good and bad reputation in the true crime media landscape.

The First 48 has become a big show on A&E, creating more related shows, and making people ask questions about the impact in real life of such a totally real and unedited view into law enforcement. This really believable level of realism also places the show in the middle of current arguments about the portrayal of cop jobs and its implications in the bigger society picture.

Do the People on The First 48 Get Paid?

Do the People on The First 48 Get Paid Source: The First 48
No, individuals featured on "The First 48," including police officers, do not receive payment for their participation.  The rule of not paying people is a deliberate choice to keep it honest in the portrayal of homicide investigations.

Police departments, as well, do not receive financial benefits from the show. This arrangement is generally well-received by the participating departments, who view their involvement as helping the public. This approach allows the audience to gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of homicide investigation. However, this rule of not paying people played a role in the show's moving out of Miami, its original filming location. A proposed arrangement to donate a portion of the show's proceeds to a local initiative was not agreed upon, leading to the end of filming in Miami.

This policy of non-payment underscores the show's dedication to showing it like it is, though it also highlights the complexities of juggling helping with needs.

Fun Facts about The First 48

Detective Turned Rap Artist

In a surprising change, Detective Rayell Johnson from the New Orleans Police Department showcased his musical talent by adopting the different name "Ray-L". In 2018, he released a rap song titled "9ine to 5ive," accompanied by a music video that humorously integrates elements of his detective work.

The video, available on YouTube, features a band at funerals and mimics the style of "The First 48's" scene transitions. Johnson's public social media presence, especially on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, continues to attract fans of the show.

The Franchise’s First Big Star

Lieutenant Joe Schillaci, the main person in the early seasons of "The First 48", made a significant impact on the show. Filmed initially in Miami, the series featured Schillaci heavily, including personal stories about his career and dealing with PTSD.

After being promoted and eventually retiring, Schillaci authored a book detailing his experiences and later starred in another crime show, "Dead Again." His journey from a homicide detective to a public figure highlights the mix of cops and media.

Cities Chosen and Departed

The choosing of the cities featured in "The First 48" remains largely secretive. However, it's believed that show bosses leverage their connections with cops.

Interestingly, they avoid cities like New York or Los Angeles, which are already focused on. The show's moving out of certain cities, like Memphis, often results from concerns about how the city is seen and its potential impact on money from tourists.

These facts not only show what's special about the show but also illustrate the complex link between real cops and their portrayal.

Why did The First 48 Stop Filming in Miami?

The First 48 ceased filming in Miami due to talks that didn't work out about donations to a community program from the show's proceeds, ending a nine-year partnership.

How about Memphis?

The First 48 stopped filming in Memphis after city council concerns about how the show affects the city's how the public sees it, more important than the police department chief's support.

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