‘Cold Justice’ Producers Sharpen Detective Skills – ‘You Have Debates or Theories of What Happened’ [Exclusive]
Oxygen’s Cold Justice Production crew may not be professional true crime sleuths by trade, but working on a show that uses clues and investigations to solve a cold case can awaken the detective in just about anyone.
Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon, Co-CEOs of Magical Elves said working on a series like Cold Justice It is unique in the sense that their show unfolds as the investigation, led by veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler, progresses.
Kriley asks questions as she screens the episodes. “Whenever we’re talking about a case, even sometimes I’ll see the first cut of one of the cases that we investigated and I’ll call Scott Patch, who is our showrunner in post, and say, ‘I don’t understand how this could have happened. Or why they did this or why nobody’s talking about this,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet.
“And so and inevitably, over time, you do have those kinds of discussions and debates or different theories of what may have happened,” Kriley added.
How are the cold cases chosen for ‘Cold Justice’?
Kriley and Sharon revealed how the cold cases are chosen to be investigated on the show. “There’s prime criteria,” Sharon explained to Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “One is wanting to make sure that the families of the victims are open to it and want to be a part of it. Because they are one of the hearts of the show. So that’s one major thing.”
“And then the other is the local law and making sure that they want the help and are open to us coming into their town,” Sharon continued. “Because they’re ultimately the drivers of this. And so it’s really important that they’re fully on board and they usually are, which is great. We’re very fortunate because the show has been around and done over 100 episodes and had a lot of success.”
What is the biggest challenge to filming a show like ‘Cold Justice’?
Connecting with the families and local law enforcement isn’t the biggest hurdle when it comes to shooting the series.
“One of the challenges on Cold Justice is it’s not an adjudicated case. It’s a cold case,” Kriley said. “Ultimately, we’re partnering with local law to support them and do a reinvestigation. And we have no idea what is going to happen with every case we reinvestigate. And we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, as does Kelly Siegler in particular. The hope is to solve the cold case for the family members who have suffered so much.”
“And so I think there’s a lot of pressure, not only Kelly, but our phenomenal crew with the hope of solving the case,” Kriley added. “But also just from a production standpoint. You just don’t know what new information you’re going to find.”
“It’s a show where you have no control and don’t know where the narrative or the case is going to end up. That I think is really challenging at times,” she continued. “But also exciting when ultimately Kelly and the local law uncover new pieces of evidence and new facts that ultimately lead to solving the case.”
The Dick Wolf element brings storytelling to life on the series
Beyond warming up a cold trail, Cold Justice has that special storytelling element from executive producer Dick Wolf. “Dick’s brand is so iconic,” Sharon said of the Law & Order creator.
“He’s amazing at telling stories, telling dramatic emotional stories,” Sharon said. “From the beginning, even when we were pitching this idea, it was very important to him that, yes, we wanted to solve cold cases and we would. But that wasn’t the only factor in what we were trying to achieve in every episode.”
“Ultimately, we were telling the story of not only the local law and their pursuit but of the victims’ families and what us, meaning the local law and the show,” Sharon said. “And Kelly coming to that town and reinvestigating that case meant to them whether it was solved or not, just the fact that their loved one still matters and people still care and people are putting the time in to try and help.”
“It is the emotional throughline of the show, whether the case is solved or not,” she added. “And he was sort of adamant that that sort of storytelling and that narrative was critical.”
Cold Justice airs on Saturday at 8 pm ET on Oxygen.
Magical Elves is a leading producer of award-winning, non-fiction content for domestic and international television markets. Known for hits like Top Chef (Bravo), Nailed It!Netflix), Sugar Rush (Netflix), Cold Justice (Oxygen) and Brain Games reboot (Nat Geo), Magical Elves is a veteran production company with a long track record of consistently delivering the highest quality programming.