The BEST episodes of 48 Hours season 16

Every episode of 48 Hours season 16, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of 48 Hours season 16!

Television's most popular true-crime series, investigating shocking cases and compelling real-life dramas with journalistic integrity and cutting-edge style.

Last Updated: 6/29/2024Network: CBSStatus: Continuing
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#1 - Burden of Proof

Season 16 - Episode 10 - Aired 11/22/2002

what happened to 33-year-old Beverly Watson who vanished without a trace, leaving her husband Jim and two children behind. Jim became the prime suspect in the case, but all the while he raised their children as a single dad. Both kids believed he was innocent of any crime, while Beverly's girlfriends were convinced Jim was behind it all. Two years after Beverly's disappearance, some of her bones were found. The only forensics the police could muster were some dust and two scratches. So the question for the prosecutor - a tough, no-nonsense woman - was: could she prove that a loving father - which he was - have committed murder, and covered it up so convincingly?

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#2 - Ghosts of Greenwich

Season 16 - Episode 33 - Aired 4/16/2003

In a 48 Hours Investigates exclusive interview, Robert Kennedy Jr. talks about new clues and possible new suspects in the Martha Moxley murder. Kennedy shares new details about two young men who were allegedly in the gated Belle Haven community in Greenwich, Conn., the night of Moxley's murder. He also tells Correspondent Lesley Stahl how he personally elicited details of their possible involvement from Tony Bryant, cousin of NBA player Kobe Bryant.

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#3 - Star Witness

Season 16 - Episode 41 - Aired 8/27/2003

For Melinda Elkins, the years go by, but the pain and the questions linger. She can’t stop asking herself, “Who could have been so cold-blooded as to want her mother dead?” "I miss her, and I know she's not at rest,” she says. It was a violent death. Judith Johnson, 58, and her 6-year-old granddaughter, Melinda's niece, were at her modest home outside Akron, Ohio, one night in June 1998. Melinda's brother-in-law found the body the next morning. Judith Johnson had been beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted. The little girl was also assaulted, but she survived and lived to tell a shocking story – that the man who’d killed her grandmother was none other than her uncle, and Melinda’s husband, Clarence Elkins. Within hours, police arrested Elkins and charged him with the murder. Today, Elkins, 40, sits in prison for life, convicted largely on the word of his own niece. But there never was one shred of physical evidence linking him to this bloody crime. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports. Wrongfully Accused: Gloria Killian has waited a long time for this moment – 16 years and four months, to be exact. It’s hard to believe that she’s been locked away for that long in a California state prison. “I would rather die than go back to prison,” says Gloria, who was sent away for a robbery-murder she claims she didn’t commit. “I’m innocent. I did not plan the robbery. I did not know those people. I was not involved. I am not the perpetrator.” But Lana Wyant, with the District Attorney’s office in Sacramento, Calif., wants Gloria back in jail: “We’re convinced that she was the mastermind of this murder.” Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports for 48 Hours Investigates.

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#4 - Lust, Lies and Videotape aka The Secret Tapes

Season 16 - Episode 20 - Aired 2/19/2003

48 Hours Investigates a story we're calling "Lust, Lies and Videotape." It's the amazing story of Andrew Luster - now a fugitive from justice - the great-grandson of cosmetics legend Max Factor. His sentencing, in absentia, is set for this week. Correspondent Troy Roberts had the only interview with Luster before he fled California- right in the midst of a trial on 87 counts, ranging from poisoning to sexual battery to rape. If that's not amazing enough, 48 Hours also has the stunning videotape evidence of his crimes, recorded by Luster himself (though a lot of it is just too graphic to air). And then, two of Luster's victims break their silence for the first time on 48 Hours. They tell Roberts how shocked they were first, to learn they were Luster's "victims" who had been drugged with GHB, the date-rape drug - and then to learn he had videotape of it all. It's real-life-drama that's a real stunner.

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#5 - The Profiler

Season 16 - Episode 42 - Aired 9/16/2003

A 33-year-old woman called "Karen" says there is a man out there who wants to kill her. "I still to this day wonder ,"Why me?'," she says. "The only way I will ever get my life back is if he's in jail." Over the last year and a half, she's told police that he's already viciously attacked her – not once, but three times. What's scariest for Karen is that he's a stranger - she has no idea who he is or whether he'll be back. The case has Karen terrified, and the police in two Oregon towns absolutely baffled. "In my 12 years experience, I've had nothing like this before," says Det. Larry Braaksma, with the Tualatin Police Department. With no witnesses to any of the attacks, police are left with little more than the bizarre details provided by Karen, the stalker's only known victim. And they're getting worried, because each attack seems to be more violent than the last. Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.

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#6 - Chambers Speaks aka Justice Served?

Season 16 - Episode 21 - Aired 2/26/2003

On Valentine's Day, Robert Chambers walked out of a prison in upstate New York as a free man, but one still pursued by his own infamy. In an exclusive interview with 48 Hours Investigates correspondent Troy Roberts, Chambers apologized for the way he lived his life and took Jennifer Levin's. "Every day, something reminds me of her, reminds me of her family," Chambers told Roberts. "And every day, I know that I'm in prison because somebody died, and I'm responsible for that. It's not an easy feeling. You don't get comfortable with it. And it's part of my life for the rest of my life." Rehearsed lines from a con artist? Or genuine repentance?

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#7 - The Negotiators aka Desperate Call

Season 16 - Episode 22 - Aired 3/5/2003

An angry man takes his infant daughter hostage and barricades himself inside a house in residential Queens. Can a team of New York Police Department hostage negotiators save the hostages - especially the baby? Take an unprecedented inside look at a hostage negotiation team at work. Find out what it's like to be responsible for people held against their will. Feel the pressure in the heart of a crisis - where success is measured in lives saved. Correspondent Harold Dow reports.

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#8 - The Tale of the Tape

Season 16 - Episode 23 - Aired 3/7/2003

Even by outsized Texas standards, it was one of the most notorious crimes of passion in recent memory: Houston dentist Clara Harris killed her husband David, a prominent Houston orthodontist, because he was seeing another woman. Harris' crime caught national attention both for what she did and for her weapon of choice, her Mercedes Benz. And it was all caught on tape, a videotape shot by a private investigator hired by, of all people, Clara Harris herself.

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#9 - The Babysitter's Story

Season 16 - Episode 24 - Aired 3/14/2003

Chris Routh, 16, is the kind of kid you'd like to have living next door. "I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I was a good kid," he says. "I was an 'A' student. I never broke any laws or anything. Never got into any trouble at school. I don't think I've ever lost my temper in my life. I'm a very calm-mannered, very mellow guy." Now, this mild-mannered teenager is about to find out if he will spend the rest of his life living in prison. His mother, Sissy Routh, says: "I think this was a series of tragedies that fell one upon another. And I think that Christopher happens to be the person who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time." Chris stands accused of sexually assaulting 23-month-old Emily Woodruff, and then shaking the toddler to death. It doesn't get any worse than that.

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#10 - One on One with Powell

Season 16 - Episode 25 - Aired 3/25/2003

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War, Secretary of State Colin Powell was the architect of the campaign to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait. He has been at the heart of the decision-making process that led up to the current military conflict with Iraq. On Tuesday night, Powell sat down with 48 Hour's Lesley Stahl for an exclusive one-on-one interview.

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#11 - How Long a War?

Season 16 - Episode 26 - Aired 3/29/2003

The first days of the war went by in a blur of positive news for the U.S. and its allies. Then, over the first weekend, the picture started to grow darker. 48 Hours Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports on the status of the war, and on what we might expect next.

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#12 - Waiting on Women Warriors: Jessica Lynch

Season 16 - Episode 27 - Aired 3/30/2003

To her best friend Miriah Duckworth, Jessi Lynch is everything from a not-so-aspiring athlete to a beauty queen, reports Jane Clayson. "She could throw up her hair up and look gorgeous, go out and win Ms. Congeniality," says Duckworth. To her father Greg, she is a source of pride. "She's a wonderful girl. Always put others before herself in any situation," he says. And to the U.S. Army, she is Private First Class Jessica Lynch, a supply clerk, one of thousands of women now serving in the war. But after a fierce battle last Saturday night, March 23, near the southern city of Nasiriyah, Jessi became one of only two women officially listed as missing in action.

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#13 - Hidden Dangers of Ambush Alley

Season 16 - Episode 28 - Aired 4/4/2003

It's about 3:30 in the morning, and the headquarters company of the 293rd Infantry Battalion is about to head out. The trip will take a little over eight hours, and it leads up a road that has become known as "Ambush Alley." Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.

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#14 - A Widow's Tale

Season 16 - Episode 29 - Aired 4/4/2003

Marine Gunnery Sergeant Phil Jordan was a veteran of the first Gulf War, a soldier's soldier. This week, his body came home from the current Gulf War. And for wife, Amanda, it was devastating. Correspondent Mika Brzezinski reports for 48 Hours. "It's like it's happening to somebody else," she said. "It's not happening to us." Phil and Amanda first met nine years ago, in a whirlwind courtship. Their marriage blossomed, and along came their baby, Tyler. Amanda said Tyler was so proud of his father for what he did, that he put him on a pedestal. In his letters home, Phil always had a message for Tyler, who is now 6 years old. The last letter arrived several days after Phil's death.

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#15 - Battling Gulf War Syndrome

Season 16 - Episode 30 - Aired 4/9/2003

One of the enduring mysteries of the last Gulf War has driven 48-year-old Navy veteran Bill Finnegan to the far eastern tip of Long Island. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports. "I live out here in the boonies, and I pretty much stay to myself all the time," says Finnegan, who mostly keeps company with his horses and dogs. "It's my choice, because I just don't feel right." It's easier, he says, than trying to explain the ravages of Gulf War Syndrome to his friends.

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#16 - Hong Kong: Crowded City of Fear

Season 16 - Episode 31 - Aired 4/9/2003

At first glance, Hong Kong seems as noisy and bustling as ever. But there is one conspicuous difference -- the face masks. They are everywhere. And they are the first hint of what the SARS outbreak has done to this famous city. Correspondent Barry Petersen reports. “It’s changed the way we go about our day-to-day lives,” says Whitney Small, a public relations executive originally from Brunswick, Maine. "It’s not so much that you fear you’re going to be the next victim, it’s more that it’s creating a disturbance in what was already a very tense time in Hong Kong.” Hong Kong is a crowded city of fear, in a region that is now Ground Zero for a worldwide SARS outbreak.

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#17 - Fog of War: Facing Friendly Fire

Season 16 - Episode 32 - Aired 4/11/2003

Even with all the modern weapons of this war, warriors are still bedeviled by old-fashioned problems. It happened just this week. In Northern Iraq, a convoy of U.S. Special Forces soldiers and Kurdish allies was attacked by American bombs. Eighteen Kurds were killed and more than 45 injured, including the brother and son of a Kurdish leader. The weapons fired in this war are supposed to be precision guided and pinpoint accurate. But mistakes still happen. Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports.

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#18 - To Catch a Stalker

Season 16 - Episode 34 - Aired 4/23/2003

In Shaker Heights, Ohio, just outside Cleveland, Ching L. Chang found a culturally rich and diverse neighborhood where he and his wife, Yoon Wah, could raise their four children. Penny, 15, was the youngest in the family. Growing up, her family says she was very neat, very talkative and very Americanized. She thrived in this affluent suburb, but no one could have predicted what happened. Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports

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#19 - For Love or Money

Season 16 - Episode 36 - Aired 5/14/2003

Texas is known for doing everything big. And in Austin, millionaire business tycoon Steven Beard was living large with his new wife, Celeste. "Steven was always very generous. He gave me lovely jewels, lots of jewelry, lots of everything," says Celeste. They had two houses, including a custom-built Texas palace in one of Austin's wealthiest neighborhoods. "I spent a lot of money," says Celeste. "I spent a lot of money redoing the houses all the time." Steven Beard had made his mark as the co-owner of a local television station. He was rich, powerful, and an important member of the community. But his fairy-tale life was soon shattered. Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports.

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#20 - Rich Kids

Season 16 - Episode 38 - Aired 6/11/2003

48 Hours Investigates reports on Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Frankie Muniz, Eric Trump and L'il Romeo -- Lifestyles of the young and rich. Rich Girls: The Olsen Twins: Even in Hollywood, where rich girls are a dime a dozen, these two 17-year-olds stand out. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen aren't just rich and ambitious, they're mini-moguls. And they're already worth, by some estimates, $40 million each and counting. Frankie Muniz: Hollywood Star: Actor Frankie Muniz has not only won fans -- he's made a fortune playing geeky teenage characters. On TV, he's the awkward, brainy middle child in the sit-com "Malcolm In The Middle." On the big screen, he's agent Cody Banks, a not-so-suave junior James Bond. In a few short years, the kid with the cute face and sparkling blue eyes has become one of Hollywood's most bankable teens. His salary for "Agent Cody Banks" was somewhere around $2 million – pretty good for Muniz, who just turned 18 this month. Correspondent Maureen Maher reports. Eric Trump: American Royalty: Eric is a prince to the manor born, part of that peculiar type of American royalty, who grows up behind the headlines with a gold-plated last name. Eric Trump, 19, is Ivana's baby boy and Donald Trump's youngest son. Correspondent Jane Clayson reports. Lil' Rome: Hip-Hop Star: Even in his wildest dreams, 14-year-old Percy Romeo Miller III never imagined a life like this. "Dreams can come true. Like Martin Luther King said, 'Have a dream,'" says Lil' Romeo, a pint-sized, platinum-selling, hip-hop superstar. In just two years, Lil' Romeo has sold an astonishing 20 million CDs. Now, he says he has $50 million in savings. This eighth grader stars in movies, cartoons and even runs a clothing company. When he's not shooting films, he's shooting hoops as a Junior Olympic basketball player. It must be a great life. "I mean Romeo's got cars, man," says his father, rapper Master P. "I'm, like, he can't even drive!" Lil' Romeo gave Correspondent

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#21 - Baby Hope

Season 16 - Episode 39 - Aired 7/12/2003

Hunter Kelley, 7, is on pins and needles as he awaits the arrival of his new baby brother. His very life may depend on it. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports. Randy and Christie Kelley of Birmingham, Ala., have just what they've always wanted - a houseful of boys. First came Taylor, then Hunter and finally Parker. Everything seemed perfect until Hunter turned 5. "He'd always been small, so we kind of questioned that," says Hunter's father, Randy. "And his blood counts were deteriorating." At his annual check-up, routine tests showed Hunter's white and red blood cell counts were dangerously low. So doctors ran more tests. The diagnosis? Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease in which the bone marrow fails to produce healthy blood cells, leading to infection, cancer and ultimately, death. "Very rarely did children make it to adulthood," says Randy. "The average life span is between 8 years old and 12 years old. So it was pretty bleak."

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#22 - Tribute to Bob Hope

Season 16 - Episode 40 - Aired 7/28/2003

For the better part of the 20th century, Bob Hope became as much an American icon as mom's apple pie. In small towns, in run down theatres, Hope developed a craft that would allow him to dance rings around Bing Crosby. And even keep up with the fast stepping Jimmy Cagney. Nothing gave him a bigger thrill than hearing an audience erupt in laughter.

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#23 - Cry Rape

Season 16 - Episode 43 - Aired 9/20/2003

Anyone who knows Laura Neuman, 38, knows how much she enjoys her life in Annapolis, Md. A hard-charging businesswoman, she works hard and plays hard. But life hasn't always been such smooth sailing. In fact, Laura says she spent two decades living in fear as a victim of rape. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports. It's been almost 20 years since that horrible night when she was attacked. Laura, then 18, had just moved out of her parent's home in Baltimore. With dreams of college and a career, she was ready to take on the world. On Oct. 14, 1983, Laura says, she fell asleep watching television. She says she heard a noise while she was asleep, but she thought it was her roommate returning home. "It sounded like a shuffling noise in the background," she recalls. "But then, of course I was awakened, and without going into too much detail, I did wake up to a gun to my head and a pillow over my face." According to the police report, an intruder entered Laura's apartment through her roommate's window and forcibly raped the frightened teenager in her own bed. "It was fear, it was shock. I was certain that there was a really good chance I wouldn't live through it. I really thought I might die," she says.

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#24 - Addictions on All Sides

Season 16 - Episode 6 - Aired 10/18/2002

48 Hours Investigates about addictions. Susan Spencer, explores whether the Washington area sniper is into some kind of addiction of his own: Do serial killers get to the point where they treat their acts of violence as a "fix?" Susan also looks back at a deadly 1990 sniper case in Ohio where the gunman later explained his actions. 48 Hours Investigates also examines other addictions, like being hooked on computer games. Industry analysts are saying that more than 100 million people will be playing these games by 2005. One of the most popular of the new Internet games is Everquest, which actually has the nickname 'Evercrack' because it's so addictive. You'll hear people tonight tell you that it's virtually impossible to stop playing. We also look at shoplifting - a crime for which Winona Ryder faces trial next week. For some people, is shoplifting a habit nearly impossible to kick? Plus the original supermodel, Janice Dickinson, who says she became addicted to fame.

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#25 - The Canal Street Brothel

Season 16 - Episode 37 - Aired 5/23/2003

They say there's nothing hotter than a New Orleans kitchen in July. The talk got pretty spicy in the dining room of the Canal Street Brothel when Correspondent Harold Dow sat down with these "unconventional businesswomen" in the summer of 2003.