ID’s “Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda” draws on a detective’s haunted past

In so many ways, murder is the most unbearable of crimes. Certainly there’s no getting over it for the victim, but it also permanently impacts the victim’s family, loved ones and the community at large. And for the investigator who assembles the evidence to solve the crime and put the killer away? It’s often one more traumatic experience catalogued amid many others. It’s this backlog of disturbing memories that’s at the heart of Investigation Discovery’s new series Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda, premiering Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 10pm ET/PT.

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Psychologically and emotionally, homicide investigators must have one of the most taxing careers on the planet. There’s always another case — many running concurrently, unlike the neat and clean TV procedural shows that tidily solve one crime and quickly move on to the next episode — and the raw brutality they witness from day to day is enough to drive anyone to despair. Lt. Joe Kenda saw it all in his 23 years on the force with the Colorado Springs Police Department, and not even 13 years of retirement could quell the emotional turbulence that’s still a part of his daily life. Homicide Hunter is his chance to try to get back some of the peace he’s lost over the years, by opening his case files and revisiting these heinous crimes.

“I developed a heart made of railroad steel for these moments,” Lt. Kenda says, describing what it took to get through investigations that brought him in contact with such savage behavior. “I worried about that sometimes. This process has allowed me to come to terms with a lot of these memories. I don’t want to tell these stories. I need to.”

Each one-hour episode of Homicide Hunter finds Lt. Kenda returning to his “Murder Books” to review one of the 387 investigations that his team solved and tracing, in detail, the process of how they went from examining evidence at the crime scene to finding and interpreting clues, drumming up leads and eventually determining and capturing the killer. It’s a fascinating process for the viewer, and a powerfully cathartic personal journey for Lt. Kenda as he gives air to the stifling nightmares that have been locked inside him for decades.


Photo: Kim Cook/Investigation Discovery


  1. I loooove this show. I love Lt. Kenda. My favorite line:

    They say he didn’t have any enemies; he had one…..

  2. I’m a fan as well. Can’t wait for season 2. It is a refreshing difference to what else is out there. I’m sure we’ll see some copycatting very soon.

  3. I know a creep when I see one, and Lt. Kenda isn’t one. He catches them and puts them in jail for life. This is the best detective show since, well, you know.

  4. Joe, you’re the best. thank you for accepting the challenge of this show — it’s great to see intelligent, thoughtful TV about someone who was involved with the worst of the worst and still did so much good for others. Well my, my, my, I love this guy!

  5. Joe Kenda is by far the most brilliant homicide detective I’ve ever seen. Those who refer to the “creep factor” don’t know what they are talking about! If anything ever happened to me, I would want Joe Kenda to be the lead investigator.He is not like some other detectives. I’ve been watching reality crime shows for years. Some detectives seem to put on blinders once they focus on a certain suspect. They don’t always check out leads that may point to another suspect. Joe Kenda always checks out every possibility before he reaches a conclusion. He’s tough, but fair. Pesonally, I think he’s the best!

  6. Ruth … I too have a crush on Joe Kenda 🙂 The shows are so interesting, and I remember some of the crimes since I’ve lived in Colorado Springs since 1985. Since the local news doesnt continue coverage of some of the stories as other news stories take their place … I appreciate seeing what steps were taken to solve the crimes and what the outcomes were … makes me wish I had gone into law enforcement! Lt. Kenda should teach, I think he’d be great at it. I hope the show gains the recognition it deserves! Oh, and its great to see Sandra Mann again too!

  7. those two dipshits who said joe kenda is the murderer are as stupid as the people he catches and keeps out of society. He’s smart, a professional and his solved cases are proven… He’s the man & great for him.

  8. I agree with you August! I’ve only watched 2 shows. The first bored me to tears. The 2nd one gave me nightmares too!
    I’ve talked to several friends that refuse to watch the show because of the creep factor.

  9. . . . . I am pretty sure that Joe is a serial killer. He gives me the creeps like nobody’s business. I think he did these crimes and then investigated them himself. I am beginning to see him in my nightmares. The final episode he should come clean and arrest himself.

    • You need therapy. This show is about real murders. Those that can not handle reality TV, about murder cases, should go watch some cartoons!
      Why do people say they were bored & then watch another episode?
      This is a great show, and yes his narrative voice is another plus for the show.

  10. On further investigation, the crime rate in Colorado Springs is high. The number of murders is not so surprising after all.

  11. I love this mans style. He is awesome, I could listen to him for hours on end. I believe I have a crush on him. lol.

  12. It says 387 investigations. I think I read or heard on TV that he was head of the major case squad, so maybe they weren’t all murders.

    In other news, I love Joe Kenda.

  13. Homicide Hunter is a fantastic show. It’s the “real deal”! I’ve never seen anything like this that lets you into the process and the workings of real detective work. It doesn’t have car chases or those other gimmicks but it sure lets you see the true process to solve these crimes and bring justice for the victim and their family and friends. Yes Lt. Kenda, you have our attention too. Thanks for letting us look over your shoulder and see true reality.

  14. I looked forward to seeing this new show and I was not disapointed. Of all the shows I watch in the same vein I find Lt. Kenda to be so human and so caring. You can look into his face and see the pain that he has endured all the years he worked these cases. I wish he had been a cop in a town I lived in when a young family friend disappeared and presumed murdered. The evidence was there yet there was never an arrest let alone a conviction.

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