In medicine, they call it the 'critical hour.' In criminal investigations, they call it 'the first 48 hours'. Ask any detective - they will tell you 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. In a visual style that feels more like a TV drama than a reality show, The First 48 follows homicide detectives during these initial critical hours as they race against time to solve their cases. Every hour-long programme follows various detectives from select homicide teams as they track breaking cases, each with a running clock that builds pace as the 48 hours inexorably expires.