In "Cold Justice," which premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday on TNT, Siegler travels to small towns to investigate unsolved murders.
Siegler has always had a flair for the dramatic. Before she left the district attorney's office, she tried and won 68 murder cases in Harris County - many of them the grisly, high-profile variety. In 2004, she got national attention when she brought a bloody mattress straight from a crime scene into the courtroom and tied a colleague to the bed, pretending to stab him so the jury could get a clear picture of the murder scene. (A Lifetime TV movie was made about that case last year.)
Siegler pitched the idea for "Cold Justice" to executive producer Dick Wolf, who created "Law & Order."
"That was probably three years ago," Siegler said. "Right away, Dick Wolf said, 'That's a great idea. We're going to do that idea.' "
In "Cold Justice," each case unfolds with the tick-tock pace of a "Law & Order" episode. Siegler is paired with Yolanda McClary, a former crime scene investigator for the Las Vegas Police Department. The duo arrives in a small town and meets with local detectives, learning the twists and turns of an unsolved murder case. Then they spend about 10 days examining the evidence, re-interviewing witnesses and family members and trying to bring the case to some sort of resolution.
Eight episodes have been filmed to complete the show's first season.
"Cold Justice" will visit towns all over the country, but it starts in Texas: In the first episode, Siegler and McClary go to DeWitt County to investigate a 2001 death in Cuero. A woman's death was ruled a suicide, but her daughter believes she was murdered by her live-in boyfriend. They revisit the crime scene and interview family members, plucking the truth out of their wildly conflicting stories.
We'll see if the show takes off. After Duck Dynasty, who can tell? I can see why Siegler would be an almost perfect made-for-reality-TV prosecutor. To say she earned a reputation for the theatric as a real-world ADA in Harris County would be an understatement. And her brief introduction to retail politics should prepare her to promote the show. If Siegler had been elected Harris County District Attorney in 2008 instead of losing in a runoff to Pat Lykos, IMO she'd have been a media darling and instant Texas GOP star with an inside track to becoming Attorney General in the 2014 election cycle. In that sense, "Cold Justice" was a shorter step for Siegler than it might appear from a distance. The Republican Party's loss was reality TV's gain. Grits wishes her luck; I bet she's a natural.Kelly Siegler showed a flair for the dramatic when she was a prosecutor for the district attorney's office in Harris County.
In next week's episode, Siegler and McClary investigate the 2006 stabbing death of a Louisiana woman. Without a weapon, fingerprints or a witness, local police haven't been able to break the case open - but the "Cold Justice" team interrogates a few suspects and pieces the story together.