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The most compelling episodes of 'The First 48'

Police officers stand outside a crime scene, while other officers inspect the building
Image: The First 48

Diana Safieh co-hosts a true crime podcast with her sister Randa. Check out the Switchblade Sisters Social Club, a podcast where two sisters exploit their worst fears, for your entertainment. In this guest article, Diana talks about some of the very best episodes of The First 48.

The First 48 is available to watch now on Crime + Investigation Play.

Don’t you love when you discover a new series and realise that there are already loads of seasons, so that’s you sorted for the foreseeable? No decisions on what to watch need to be made for a while. But what if it is a true crime show where each episode is a standalone case? Do you start from the beginning and work your way through, or do you hop about picking the cases that interest you most?

The First 48, and its various spin-offs, is one of the most popular series on Crime + Investigation Play. Rightly so, as each episode is gripping. And the 48-hour countdown feels like you are reliving the glory days of Jack Bauer in 24.

But if you want a bit of advice on where to start with this delectable show, look no further. Whether it's unravelling the sinister motives behind a murder or navigating the complexities of a chilling serial killer case, The First 48 delivers an immersive experience that will leave viewers on the edge of their seats. So, if you're ready to dive into the world of crime-solving, let these recommended episodes serve as your guide on this thrilling journey.

Season 25, Episode 9 - House Party

This episode followed the case of Pascual ‘Jose’ Sarabia, who was shot and killed when a clash erupted between his friends and gatecrashers at his 21st birthday party. Law enforcement had a unique advantage: the presence of camera footage captured by eyewitnesses of varying ages.

Jose’s friend set up a GoFundMe to help the family with the funeral costs, which shockingly attracted negative comments, placing the troll in the line of sight of investigators as a potential suspect. This is a great episode if you love seeing how modern technology impacts an investigation.

Season 25, Episode 1 - Freestyling

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, tragedy struck as Joe Brown, also known as 'Joe Solo' and 'Joeflowz', an aspiring hip-hop artist and father of two, was found dead on a residential street, shot in the neck. Joe and his girlfriend had been homeless, with his girlfriend previously questioned by police regarding another murder, although another man was eventually charged.

Was this music-related? Was the girlfriend involved? Or did Joe’s addiction to meth put him in direct contact with people capable of murder?

Season 21, Episode 19 - Predator

In a chilling discovery, sex worker Sara Annette Sanford's body was found in the woods. The victim was wearing three sets of handcuffs on her hands and feet. She had been shot once and left deceased for over 24 hours. The investigation that followed prompted speculation about a potential serial killer as this did not have the air of a first-time killing.

Season 24, Episode 24 - The Break

Surveillance cameras captured footage of a murder following a game of pool. The victim, identified as 42-year-old father Tito Smith, was shot dead after a bar fight. A breakthrough occurred when the shooter, recognisable by a moon boot, was traced through a previous domestic violence arrest.

The suspect’s childhood friends were interviewed, yet somehow could not remember his name, despite knowing him for decades. There was also a fascinating call to apply for an arrest warrant, a process rarely captured on film.

Season 17, Episode 2 - Shattered Glass

In a vintage episode from 2017 New Orleans, the crime capital of the USA, a grim homicide case unfolded after a mother was brutally beaten to death. The crime scene was noted for broken glass, blood, and chaos, including a shattered fish tank.

The victim, Kinya Keller, was discovered by her boyfriend, and her rental car was later found vandalised. Tragically, Kinya's brother had been shot and killed the previous year, adding to the family's grief. This episode includes a police interview with possibly the bravest 12-year-old boy on the planet.

Season 18, Episode 14 - Knock Knock

In a tale of deceit and violence, 33-year-old Michael Jones was fatally shot at a motel. The victim had been involved in pimping out his girlfriend and other women at local casinos, leading to suspicions that the shooters targeted them for their apparent wealth. Luckily, one of the suspects was apprehended after getting into a collision outside the police station.

Season 25, Episode 6 - Raw Deal

As the music world mourned the loss of Corey Detiege, also known as Chucky Trill, who was tragically murdered while working on his second album, the investigation turned to his enviable rising popularity. Shot multiple times while sitting in his car, the brutal attack led to speculation that Detiege may have been targeted due to his success on social media. The incident underscored the dangers faced by musicians and artists, even as they pursue their passion and creative endeavours.