Crime 360



10 p.m. Thursday, March 6

In its promotional material, A&E touts "Crime 360" as a series that "takes viewers inside actual investigations as they unfold, using state-of-the-art 360-degree, digital photography and incredible CGI visualizations." True, there are a lot (actually, too much) of computer-generated graphics, but, for the most part, this is just "Cops" with a community college degree.

Each week's episode begins with detectives called to a crime scene and ends with the crime solved, a feat previously reserved for scripted shows. In the premiere, we watch Richmond, Va., Detective Shane Waite tackle his first homicide case with his partner, veteran Detective Mark Williams. "This makes it real," said Waite, gazing at the dead guy. "This is way more intense than I ever expected." So what do they use for training in Richmond, comic books?

The detectives study the crime scene, bring in bloodhounds, interview neighbors, review autopsy evidence, accompany forensic specialists ... and then crack the crime based largely on a phone tip.

While all this is going on, we are treated to close-up after close-up of a seminude corpse in a trunk and endless graphic depictions of a bullet burrowing its way through a cranium.

My favorite part is when they stop the car driven by the suspect. At the opening of the show, an advisory says individuals seen "are presumed innocent until proven guilty." Tell that to Detective Williams. "There's no doubt in my mind he committed this murder," Williams says just before they nab the guy. Case closed.