The BEST Episodes of 48 Hours
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Apr 4, 2021
Television's most popular true-crime series, investigating shocking cases and compelling real-life dramas with journalistic integrity and cutting-edge style. This in-depth approach has earned the program and its teams numerous awards including three Peabodys, 17 Emmys and five RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Awards. The program was revamped in 2002 when Lesley Stahl took over hosting duties from Dan Rather, and its name was changed to 48 Hours Investigates. The name was changed again to 48 Hours Mystery in 2004, and with its single-topic format, it does not use a single host but is narrated by the reporter assigned to the story. The current format of the documentary primarily deals with real life mysteries and crime stories, again with just one mystery per episode, owing to its single topic per show heritage. The program is not confined to reporting mysteries; CBS often uses the 48 Hours title or timeslot to present special reports on events, such as a 2006 report on the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, or coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007. However, the relationship between these special programs and the rest of the series is essentially limited to the program's title.
#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 - 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.
#4 - 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.
#5 - 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.
#6 - 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.
#7 - 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.
#8 - 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.
#9 - 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.
#10 - 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?''
#11 - 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.
#12 - 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.
#13 - The Missing Children of Lori Vallow Daybell
Season 32 - Episode 32 - Aired May 16, 2020
Two children vanish and an Idaho mother won’t say where they are. In their first network TV interview, her mother and sister say she’d never harm her children. So where are the kids? CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
#14 - The Eye Drop Homicide
Season 33 - Episode 33 - Aired Mar 13, 2021
Did an item found in many medicine cabinets play a role in the death of a millionaire? "48 Hours" correspondent Peter Van Sant reports.
#15 - A Time To Kill: Michele Harris - Updated
Season 23 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 13, 2010
For family and friends of Michele Harris, the last 8 1/2 years have been a blur of investigations, trials and jury deliberations. To the outside world, Michele and her husband, Calvin Harris, had a perfect life - they were young, attractive and successful with a beautiful family and a home in a picturesque upstate New York town. But Michele's disappearance in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2001, revealed a much darker story. With much of New York State Police and canine forces diverted to New York City in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, local investigators were slowed by the limited resources available to them. Was this the perfect time for murder? Michele's disappearance remained shrouded in mystery until state police discovered tiny drops of blood in the Harris home. After four years, with no body or murder weapon, investigators felt they had enough circumstantial evidence and arrested Calvin Harris for Michele's murder. In May 2007, the case went to trial and Harris was convicted of second-degree murder. As he awaited sentencing, a new witness emerged. Harris' conviction was overturned and a new trial was set for 2009. In the end, a second trial would reach the same guilty verdict, but as Calvin Harris continues to maintain his innocence, he is now fighting for a third trial. Meanwhile authorities have not given up the search for Michele's body. "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.
#16 - In Too Deep - Updated
Season 23 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 20, 2010
Laura Hall was like any other college student. She was living in Austin, Texas, whre she attended the University of Texas, dating the guy of her dreams, business student Colton Pitonyak, and planning to go to law school. But on the morning of Aug. 17, 2005, Hall entered into a nightmare when she found a young woman's dead body in the bathtub in Pitonyak's apartment. It was 21-year-old Jennifer Cave, a friend of Pitonyak's. Within days of the murder, authorities nabbed Pitonyak and Hall in Mexico. But while Hall claimed that she went to Mexico against her will, police believed she was helping Pitonyak escape and charged her with hindering apprehension. Even worse, Cave's body had been severely mutilated, stabbed dozens of times and dismembered. At his trial, Pitonyak stunned everyone when he testified that it was, in fact, Hall who dismembered her. Correspondent Maureen Maher updates the case on an all-new "48 Hours Mystery".
#17 - Unmasking a Killer aka Hannibal Unmasked
Season 23 - Episode 22 - Aired Apr 24, 2010
In August of 2003, 19-year-old Kaysi McLeod had a fight with her mother, ran out of their Colorado home, and took off down the road on her bicycle. At first, her divorced parents, Rob and Lori, didn't worry too much - Kaysi had run away before. And, like many teens, she had a rebellious streak and was once involved in drugs. But Kaysi had also recently put her life back together, so when she didn't show up for work a few days later, panic set in. Lori's new boyfriend, Scott Kimball worked for the FBI, and assured everyone he could help find her, but weeks, then months, then finally years passed, without a trace. That story was eerily familiar to two other fathers, Bob Marcum and Howard Emry. Their daughters, 25-year-old Jennifer Marcum and 24-year-old LeAnn Emry, had also gone missing from the Denver area in 2003. LeAnn's car had been abandoned in Utah, Jennifer's had been left at the Denver airport. Yet, when each father went to the authorities for help, they were turned away. And since no one was investigating, none of the three families learned about each other's plight for years. The twists and turns in the three maddening cases would be the ultimate test of the families' love and determination. The cases would also challenge the intelligence and skill of two investigators - one, a local cop, the other, a seasoned FBI agent - who were brought together by chance to unlock the mystery. Along the way, a menacing killer with the chilling nickname of "Hannibal" would be revealed. His identity would shock everyone - most of all the FBI - and ultimately be the key to solving the cases and bringing justice to three heartbroken families. Harold Dow reports on "48 Hours Mystery: "Hannibal Unmasked".
#18 - The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Season 23 - Episode 19 - Aired Mar 13, 2010
More than 17 years have passed since Scott County, Mo., Deputy Sheriff Rick Walter pulled over on a desolate strip of highway in Benton, Mo., to examine what he thought was an abandoned car. Instead, he discovered the body of 19-year-old Angela Mischelle Lawless. Based on the blood evidence, investigators believed Mischelle, who may have been running for her life, was brutally beaten and then placed back in her car, where she was shot three times. As Walter was working the crime scene, a local man reported that he had seen the young woman in her car, and also told investigators that he saw a white car driving near the crime scene. At the same time, authorities immediately looked at Lawless' boyfriend, but could find nothing to tie him to the crime, and he passed a polygraph. Weeks went by with few leads, until four months later investigators got a break. As Sheriff Walter tells "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty, "Everyone is scared about this case."
#19 - The McGuire Diaries
Season 21 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 29, 2007
On May 5, 2004, John Runge of the Virginia Beach Police Department got a call from a fisherman stating that he had found a suitcase floating in the Chesapeake Bay. Five days later another suitcase washed up on the shores of Fisherman's Island; inside that suitcase was the torso of white male severed from the waist down. His head and arms were still attached. Later, a third suitcase with body parts was found by a fisherman and his wife. The victim was eventually identified from a sketch: William McGuire, from Woodbridge, N.J.
#20 - Endgame
Season 20 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 6, 2007
Janet March seemed to have it all - two beautiful children, a successful attorney husband, a dream house she designed herself and an aspiring art career. But appearances can be deceiving and on Aug. 29th, 1996, she was reported missing. What would follow was an international investigation that would last almost ten years. As Bill Lagattuta reports, the case ended up with two members of a cold case squad who would try to uncover the mystery of what exactly happened to Janet March and who was involved in her disappearance. After nearly nine years since the disappearance of Janet, her husband Perry March returned to Nashville, Tenn., to face murder charges. As he walked into the courthouse, there was no telling what was going through his mind.
#21 - Murder in the Hamptons
Season 17 - Episode 19 - Aired Feb 11, 2004
Wall Street tycoon Ted Ammon, who was embroiled in a bitter divorce with his wife, Generosa, was murdered at their sprawling East Hampton, Long Island estate in October 2001. Correspondent Richard Schlesinger has an extensive interview with Danny Pelosi -- the home contractor who had an affair with Generosa, married her shortly after Ammon's death and became a prime suspect in the murder. Schlesinger also speaks to Pelosi's sister, Barbara Lukert, prosecutor Janet Albertson and Generosa's cousin, Al Legaye.
#22 - Nelson Mandela: Father of a Nation
Season 27 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 7, 2013
A "48 Hours" special from the journalists of CBS News exploring the social, cultural and political impact of Mandela's life on the world.
#23 - Good Cop/Bad Cop: Solving the Murder of Heather Bogle
Season 32 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 19, 2019
An Ohio mother is brutally murdered. A detective pursues the wrong suspects, while the real killer walked free. It would take a dedicated sheriff to find a real suspect. Were there other victims? CBS News' Jim Axelrod reports.
#24 - Broken Hearts
Season 32 - Episode 23 - Aired Mar 14, 2020
A story of tragedy and triumph -- the murder of a young woman and how her killer's heart saves the life of a dying woman.
#25 - What Does the Other Woman Know? The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos
Season 33 - Episode 27 - Aired Feb 13, 2021
Newly released video shows police grilling Michelle Troconis, the ex-girlfriend of Fotis Dulos, about the disappearance of his wife Jennifer: “I didn’t do it.” But does she know more? "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.