IR TV Review: THE GENETIC DETECTIVE – EPISODE 2 (“Hunt For The Runaway Killer”) [ABC]

The aspect of “The Genetic Detective” is fitting puzzle pieces but knowing how to decode. In Episode 2, “Hunt For The Runaway Killer”, the aspect of a cold case reflects through many aspects of a serial offender. A mother and her daughter were murdered in farmland Missouri while the father and son were working on their farm. The son returns to find them both in different positions shot in the head. His sister had been tied up with extension cord. His mother face down on the floor. While DNA was found (the murders took place in 1998), DNA tracking was nowhere near where it needed to be. The DNA broke down. About 10 years later they did connect it to another crime far away in South Carolina but not enough to make a match. The case sat cold for many years. CeCe Moore, known as The Genetic Detective was brought in when a organization/lab out of Memphis decided to connect cold cases with some backlogged rape kits which had been sitting in storage waiting for analysis but needing funding. The thinking being that certain markers could connect this offender/killer who apparently kept moving around with other criminal investigations. The breakdown of every case is interesting but it is seeing where the puzzle diverges. The eye opening aspect was when CeCe comes upon in the back trace which plateaus in the 1880s, she finds double cousins where two brothers of one family married two sisters of another. So the DNA pool was doubled which created a past parallel structure.

There was also a police sketch that was vague from a person the assailant attacked not long after the original Missouri murders. It was through news articles at that point that CeCe was able to verify through a photo of the offender connecting him with his daughter. What is interesting in the reveal is that CeCe admits that the killer moved around a lot but his life path was complicated. He eventually committed suicide when he was cornered in a hotel in Missouri (it is not clear if he was alone or not). The body is exhumed and the DNA matched. The disappointing aspect is not knowing motivation,if any, behind the Missouri murders or some of the ones after it since the MOs seemed to change. CeCe visits the daughter, not to confront but just to talk (likely primarily just to create closure). The lady worries and reflects about genetic predisposition whereas when CeCe visits the son whose mother and sister were killed, he is living in the same farm house. He says that even though the mystery was solved, the thoughts and trauma will never go away. This kind of balanced approach brings a texture to the show that CeCe relates in saying that data only means so much. It is important to see that consequence and reflection on the ground


By Tim Wassberg