The BEST Episodes of 48 Hours
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Sep 24, 2021
Television's most popular true-crime series, investigating shocking cases and compelling real-life dramas with journalistic integrity and cutting-edge style.
#1 - Drawn to Murder
Season 22 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 29, 2008
A teen is hunted for murder for over a decade. Now, some of the cops who helped put him away want to set him free. Susan Spencer reports.
#2 - An Invisible Enemy
Season 21 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 8, 2007
It was February 2002 when Cynthia Sommer, her husband, Marine Sgt. Todd Sommer, and their four children were coming home from a family weekend at an amusement park. But as Richard Schlesinger reports, no one could have predicted the rollercoaster ride was just beginning.
#3 - Written in Blood
Season 18 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 25, 2004
What happened to the Rafay family one summer night in 1994 brought tragedy and mystery to a quiet neighborhood in Bellevue, Wash. On July 13, just after 2 a.m., police were called to a crime that would take them 10 years to bring to justice. "It was a plan. A well-rehearsed, well-thought-out plan," say James Konat, a senior deputy prosecutor in King County. He and a team of detectives have been haunted by the first triple homicide in the history of Bellevue -- and the killers who got away. The search for the truth would lead police to another country, through a web of intriguing clues, including a screenplay describing the murder. In the end, would a sophisticated undercover operation, set up in the make-believe world of crime, catch the real killers? Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports for 48 Hours.
#4 - Black Dahlia Confidential
Season 18 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 27, 2004
48 HOURS MYSTERY has new clues in Los Angeles' most famous unsolved murder, the 57-year-old Black Dahlia case. The brutal murder of Elizabeth Short, a young, beautiful, struggling actress whose body was discovered in a vacant lot in January 1947, has baffled the Los Angeles Police Department for decades. Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.
#5 - Secrets of the Well aka Cold Case Clay
Season 18 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 5, 2005
Criminal investigator Clay Bryant, also known as "Cold Case Clay," earned his nickname from the LaGrange, Ga. district attorney's office. When 48 HOURS MYSTERY caught up with Bryant, he was working on two separate and unsolved murders with some strange similarities -- both bodies had been found in wells. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.
#6 - Blood Feud
Season 18 - Episode 23 - Aired Apr 9, 2005
Nancy Seaman, a suburban Detroit elementary school teacher, killed her husband, Bob, with a hatchet in May 2004. Nancy says she killed him in self-defense and that she had been abused for more than 30 years. At Nancy's murder trial, the couple's youngest son testified on behalf of his mother, while the other son says his mother was never abused and that she simply snapped. Contributor Maureen Maher reports.
#7 - The Man Who Knew Too Much
Season 18 - Episode 26 - Aired Apr 30, 2005
American journalist Paul Klebnikov was shot nine times on July 9, 2004 in a contract killing as he left Forbes magazine's Moscow headquarters. Klebnikov, as editor-in-chief, wanted to expose the corruption in Russia's new economy, where the rich and powerful often operate beyond the law. As Klebnikov searched for the truth, did the secrets he uncovered cost him his life? Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.
#8 - Two Wigs, a Gun and a Murder
Season 18 - Episode 29 - Aired May 21, 2005
When Fred Jablin, a beloved Richmond University professor and devoted father, goes out to retrieve the morning newspaper on Oct. 30, 2004 and is gunned down in his driveway, his ex-wife, Piper Rountree, is the prime suspect. But, before investigators in Richmond, Va. can make their case, they must deal with a trail of confusing clues and an unusual relationship between Rountree and her sister, Tina Rountree. Correspondent Harold Dow reports.
#9 - The Other Woman
Season 17 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 7, 2004
A prominent Mississippi heart surgeon dies under mysterious circumstances. In the sleepy Bible Belt town of Hattiesburg, what happened to Dr. David Stephens turned out to be the stuff that scandals are made of. His wife said he probably killed himself, but she was arrested for murder. 48 Hours' investigation with Correspondent Harold Dow takes us inside the operating rooms, courtrooms - and the bedrooms - of a town where "everybody knows your name." It's a classic tale of infidelity, gossip, tragedy - and possibly even murder.
#10 - Uproar in Wenatchee
Season 11 - Episode 4 - Aired May 28, 1998
In most ways, Wenatchee is an unremarkable place, a quiet town of 30,000 nestled in central Washington state. But three years ago, Wenatchee was rocked by allegations that scores of adults there had been part of a conspiracy to sexually abuse children. The case resulted in numerous convictions. Now, many observers are arguing that prosecutors and investigators badly overstepped their bounds, coercing children into making accusations and railroading people into prison. Many of the convictions have been overturned, and the city is being sued. CBS News 48 Hours takes a look at one of the most compelling chapters in the Wenatchee chronicle, the story of Sam Doggett's battle to clear her parents' name. In conjunction with the program, CBS.com examines some of the questions surrounding the issue of child sexual abuse.
#11 - Murder for Hire?
Season 12 - Episode 32 - Aired May 13, 1999
On Nov. 7, 1997, Sheila Bellush, a mother of six, was brutally murdered in her Sarasota, Fla., home. Police found a multitude of clues at the scene, including fingerprints. Within weeks, three men had been arrested. But the crime was not a robbery, and the three men had never met Bellush before. Why would they want to kill her? Was it a murder for hire? Her ex-husband, wealthy San Antonio businessman Allen Blackthorne, frequently golfed with one of the men arrested in the crime. Witnesses say he was very angry at his ex-wife. Weeks before the murder, he hired a private investigator to locate Bellush. While the three men languished in jail, Blackthorne, who says he is innocent, continued to play golf. CBS News 48 Hours examines a case of murder, guilt and the intricacies of the criminal justice system. A Brutal Murder: Why would anyone want to murder Sheila Bellush? She was a wonderful woman and a devoted mother, her family says. Peter Van Sant reports from Sarasota, Fla.
#12 - Kidnapped: A Year Later
Season 12 - Episode 36 - Aired Jul 1, 1999
A year after Cheryl Lamare's latest rescue attempt, 48 Hours Correspondent Susan Spencer finds out what happened to some of those involved. Still in Crete with his daughter Jamie, Stan Voulgarelis insists that he has never sexually abused her. During a visit, he urged Spencer to talk with Jamie alone to ask if she had been sexually abused. She insisted that she liked living with her father, and that he had never touched her inappropriately. Jamie has a message for her mother: "She shouldn't try to come back and get me because I'll go only when I want to go." But shortly after our program aired a year ago, a young woman named Lisa contacted 48 Hours. She said she was a stepdaughter from Stan's previous marriage, and she had a shocking claim.
#13 - Mr. Wonderful
Season 13 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 23, 1999
By all accounts, Matt Mathews can be a charming, intelligent man. He could be a good listener and a good parent. He was also a master con man. Over the years, he conned many women, stealing their hearts and then their money. 48 Hours tells the story of "Mr. Wonderful," a man who, to many women, seemed as if he could do no wrong. Correspondent Susan Spencer investigates the tangled web of lies that Mathews relied upon to create his persona. Was he a former pro football player or a doctor? A race car driver? Or a wealthy heir? Even as he was being put on trial, Mathews continued to defraud other women. Spencer talks to one of those women to find out how she why she allowed herself to be deceived, and also looks into Mathews' past to see if she can discover what led him to such a life. With the help of dogged detective work, Mathews is arrested once again. Find out what happened when he went on trial last year.
#14 - Invisible Killers
Season 13 - Episode 23 - Aired Mar 2, 2000
It was supposed to be the house of their dreams. Now their million-dollar house is worthless. They were forced out when an invisible poison moved in. The whole family got sick - including their young son. 48 Hours tells their story, and shows how bacteria and viruses can infiltrate our lives. Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports on a family whose dream house was transformed into a nightmare by a poisonous mold. The mold spread throughout the house and forced them to leave. Did it cause brain damage? It was a simple visit to the county fair that ended tragically. Peter Van Sant reports on how a small drink of contaminated water scarred a family forever. Last year, Cody Unser, an energetic, athletic 12-year-old, was paralyzed by a puzzling virus. Troy Roberts reports on how Cody, the daughter of auto racing legend Al Unser Jr., is coping with her condition. Peter Van Sant takes a "germ tour" of Tucson, Ariz., with microbiologist Charles Gerba. How contaminated are most everyday places? Find out. Bill Lagattuta reports on Strep B, a bug that can kill newborn infants. See what happened to two families whose children had the disease.
#15 - Ghosts of Mississippi
Season 13 - Episode 38 - Aired Jun 26, 2000
In many ways, Columbus, Miss., with a population of 30,000, is an unremarkable small Southern town. "It's a nice place to live, there are a lot of nice people," resident Jane Harmon has said. "But there are a lot of strange things that happen." Chief among those strange things is the fact that between 1996 and 1998 there were five murders that are still unsolved. Correspondent Harold Dow reports on what may be the work of a serial killer.
#16 - Murder They Wrote: Murder in Spokane
Season 14 - Episode 39 - Aired Aug 24, 2001
Serial killers don't always look like creepy drifters. These monsters can appear to be polite, likable people. Ted Bundy, for example, seemed to be the sort of handsome young man most fathers would encourage their daughters to date. And Jeffery Dahmer once persuaded police to hand over a drugged victim who had escaped from his clutches. based on Mark Fuhrman's account of the hunt for a serial killer who murdered more than 20 prostitutes in three years, doesn't stop when the murderer is caught. It takes up Mr. Fuhrman's charge that inexperienced police officers and sloppy procedures had compromised the investigation and cost at least three women their lives. ''What's going on here?'' he demands. ''We're the richest, freest country in the world and we can't train our detectives to work a homicide case?''
#17 - Murder in Las Vegas
Season 15 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 16, 2001
On Dec. 18, 1994, real estate millionaire Ron Rudin disappeared from his home in Las Vegas. His skull and some charred bones were found in January 1995 in the desert near Lake Mohave, about 45 miles from Las Vegas. After a two-year investigation, police moved to arrest Ron's wife, Margaret Rudin. But before they could arrest her, she went on the lam. After two years on the run, she was arrested in Massachusetts, and brought back to Las Vegas, where she stood trial for murder. Is this soft-spoken grandmother guilty of a brutal murder? 48 Hours Correspondent Harold Dow investigates.
#18 - The Mystery of Slide Mountain
Season 15 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 8, 2002
Peter and Rinette Riella Bergna were a seemingly normal and happily married couple who lived in upscale Incline Village, Nev., near Lake Tahoe, Calif. He was an antiques dealer and she had just switched careers. Once a highly paid pharmaceutical consultant, she became an international tour guide, a job that paid much less and required weeks of travel at a time. When Rinette was killed in a mysterious crash on Slide Mountain, near Reno, Peter, her husband of 11 years, became the chief suspect in what police said was a murder investigation, Susan Spencer reports for 48 Hours.
#19 - The Case Against Brooke Skylar Richardson
Season 33 - Episode 33 - Aired May 23, 2020
The parents of Brooke Skylar Richardson speak out -- the real story behind the international headlines in the case of an alleged unthinkable crime. "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty investigates.
#20 - The Hollywood Ripper on Trial
Season 33 - Episode 35 - Aired May 30, 2020
Part 2: Four young women attacked, only one survivor. "48 Hours" correspondent Maureen Maher has been on the trail of serial killer Michael Gargiulo for more than a decade. How "48 Hours" helped crack one of the cases.
#21 - Home Renovation Homicide
Season 34 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 12, 2020
Did an out-of-control home makeover lead to murder? "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty investigates.
#22 - The Corn Rake Murder
Season 34 - Episode 5 - Aired Sep 26, 2020
A farmer says he found his wife impaled by a corn rake. The rake has just four tines – so why does she have six puncture wounds? CBS News chief investigative and senior national correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.
#23 - The Final Days of JJ and Tylee
Season 34 - Episode 7 - Aired Oct 3, 2020
The untold story of how investigators found Lori Vallow’s missing children – buried on Chad Daybell’s property. CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
#24 - The Disappearance of Kristin Smart
Season 34 - Episode 16 - Aired Nov 28, 2020
A college student goes missing and a podcaster turns up the heat to solve the case. "48 Hours" tracks down the prime suspect. CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
#25 - Lizzie Borden Took an Axe
Season 34 - Episode 19 - Aired Dec 26, 2020
Did Lizzie Borden really hack her parents to death? A surprising answer and an inside look at the haunting crime scene.