A&E’s long-running show The First 48 sees detectives work against the clock to find a lead within 48 hours of a homicide happening. Fans are now wondering if the show looks at real cases and how it got its name.

Due to the reality series being filmed for TV, many who regularly tune in don’t trust that the cases and detectives are actually real, and think that it all happens purely for entertainment purposes.

So, is The First 48 real and what is the meaning of its name? Reality Titbit has all the details on whether the show is acted or genuine, and looked at the detectives past and present to find out if they really work for the police.

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Is The First 48 real?

The documentary series shows detectives investigating real crimes, The Guardian reports. There are no actors and no script, with each episode lasting about 45 minutes and being filmed as the crime investigation begins.

David Quinn is a real former detective who previously starred on The First 48, having began his career with Atlanta police in 1985. He retired from the department in 2015 after 30 years of services.

Current detective Angela Carter previously worked for the Gwinnett County Community Response Team at the West Precinct and the Special Victim’s and Robbery Units before joining Homicide in 2021, as per her ABC bio.

None of the officers portrayed in The First 48 are paid any more than their usual salaries for doing their job. A Reddit user claiming to be a former producer of the show said they get called as soon as detectives get a call. He said:

Working on F48 is probably one of the most memorable jobs I’ll have in a long time.. It’s the REALEST show I’ve ever done, and probably ever will.. I don’t think there’s any other show on TV that can call itself true verte (Latin for truth and a term in production we use for doc style shooting).

The First 48 meaning

In criminal investigations, they call it ‘the first 48 hours’, which is why the show is called The First 48. Detectives say that if they don’t have a lead, a suspect or an arrest within 48 hours, their chances of solving the case are cut in half.

Although the series often follows the investigations to their end, it usually focuses on their first 48 hours after hearing of a homicide in the USA. However, fans think season 24 feels “very produced” rather than a genuine show.

Season 24 of the A&E show

Season 24 hit the A&E platform on November 3, 2022. The latest season cast includes Dion Graham, David Eilenberg, Elaine Frontain Bryant, Peter Tarshis, Laura Fleury, Maija Norris, John X. Kim and Alexis Robie.

The first episode of the season was called “Unforgotten: Mothers and Sons,” which focused on the Mobile Homicide team as they investigated two murders that took place at the same apartment complex.

Veteran Tulsa detective Michael Zenoni featured on the first ep. Towards the end of October, long-time viewers thought The First 48 was cancelled due to repeats of season 22 playing, but it brought out a new season in November.

WATCH THE FIRST 48 ON A&E EVERY THURSDAY AT 9 PM

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Celine Byford
Celine Byford

Celine is a journalist with over five years of experience in the media industry and the chief staff writer on Reality Titbit. After graduating with a degree in Multimedia Journalism she became a radio newsreader and reporter, before moving into her current role as a reality TV writer.

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