48 Hours

The WORST episodes of 48 Hours

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

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

Last Updated: 5/22/2022Network: CBS
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A Killer Defense
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#1 - A Killer Defense

Season 23 - Episode 23 - Aired 5/1/2010

Two years after his wife's death, Dr. Kirk Turner sat in a North Carolina courtroom, watching prosecutors lay out their murder case against him. He does admit killing his wife, but claims it was self defense. While Kirk is adamant that it was self defense, investigators and prosecutors say the evidence showed otherwise. They believe that Kirk planned to kill his wife that day, and that he even went so far as to cover it up by stabbing himself with the spear. But what would a jury think? Was Kirk Turner protecting himself, or was his wife's death premeditated? Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports on "48 Hours Mystery: "A Killer Defense".

Truth on Trial
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#2 - Truth on Trial

Season 22 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/15/2008

Barefoot Bandit: The Stunning Conclusion
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#3 - Barefoot Bandit: The Stunning Conclusion

Season 24 - Episode 27 - Aired 6/12/2011

Colton Harris-Moore - the infamous 20-year-old whose international crime spree made him an unlikely folk hero and attracted the attention of authorities who pursued him for over two years in three countries - pleads guilty to seven federal charges. Peter Van Sant has the latest developments in the case of the Barefoot Bandit.

Into Thin Air
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#4 - Into Thin Air

Season 22 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/18/2008

When Jean Zapata vanished from her home in Madison, Wis., in 1976, she left behind her daughter Linda, two other children, a lot of friends, and a mystery that would take more than 30 years to solve.

Did the Doctor Kill the Doctor?
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#5 - Did the Doctor Kill the Doctor?

Season 22 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/25/2008

A doctor is suspected of murdering another physician.

Invitation to a Murder - Revisited
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#6 - Invitation to a Murder - Revisited

Season 22 - Episode 10 - Aired 12/13/2008

Mark and Donnah Winger seemed to have it all - successful careers, a new adopted child, and a nice home in Springfield, Ill. But their seemingly peaceful and happy family life was shattered in August 1995 when Mark says he came upon a man beating his wife with a hammer. Mark shot the man, and investigators soon determined that he had acted in self-defense. Update to a 48 Hours story originally aired on January 15, 2003. As correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports, while the case seemed open and shut, after several years, it turned out to be anything but.

Conspiracy to Kill
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#7 - Conspiracy to Kill

Season 22 - Episode 15 - Aired 1/31/2009

Larry Risken was a Navy officer. Earl Bourdeau was a Marine. Nineteen years apart, they married the same woman: Sonia Rios. And both military men met the same fate - ambushed and gunned down in the Philippines, in the presence of Sonia's family.

Picture Perfect
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#8 - Picture Perfect

Season 22 - Episode 17 - Aired 3/7/2009

A camera captures a forbidden romance and murder. Will it expose a killer? "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Maureen Maher reports.

The Curious Case of Colonel Shue
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#9 - The Curious Case of Colonel Shue

Season 22 - Episode 19 - Aired 3/28/2009

In the spring of 2005, Air Force Colonel Philip Michael Shue was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Shue was 54 when a violent car crash took his life two years earlier. His vehicle struck some trees alongside a Texas interstate highway, not far from San Antonio. But even as his widow, Tracy, accepted the traditional tri-folded American flag in his honor and even as she left a single white rose on his casket in his memory, she and those closest to him spoke of one final mission for truth.

Catch Her If You Can
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#10 - Catch Her If You Can

Season 22 - Episode 23 - Aired 5/9/2009

In her exclusive first interview, con artist Esther Reed reveals how she scammed her way into the Ivy League, outsmarted the feds and spent nearly nine years on the run. "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Peter Van Sant has her story.

The Preacher's Wife
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#11 - The Preacher's Wife

Season 21 - Episode 23 - Aired 5/10/2008

Ever since Matt Baker's wife, Kari, died suddenly at the age of 31, the Baptist preacher has lived under a cloud of suspicion. Is he an innocent man unfairly accused as his followers and friends believe? Or is he hiding a terrible, dark secret?

Perfectly Executed
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#12 - Perfectly Executed

Season 18 - Episode 31 - Aired 8/6/2005

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 Jude Konat, a senior deputy prosecutor in King County. He and a team of detectives have been haunted by this crime -- and the killers who got away. The search for the truth would lead police to another country, through a web of intriguing clues. Could a screenplay that described a murder unlock the mystery? And in the end, would a sophisticated undercover operation, set up in the make-believe world of crime, catch the real killers?

The Sugar Land Conspiracy
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#13 - The Sugar Land Conspiracy

Season 21 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/20/2007

For John Flores and his best friend Kevin Whitaker, life was sweet in Sugar Land, Texas. "Sugar Land is very middle class/upper class, white collar," Flores explains. "It's a nice place, everything's new. You hang out with your neighbors. You hang out with your neighbor's kids." But as correspondent Peter Van Sant reports, that sweet life was shattered on the night of Dec. 10, 2003, when Kevin and his family were gunned down in their home.

In Too Deep
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#14 - In Too Deep

Season 21 - Episode 11 - Aired 1/22/2008

In the summer of 2005, a young woman named Laura Hall found herself caught up in a gruesome murder case; the body of another woman was in her boyfriend's bathtub, and some time after the killing, the body was horribly mutilated. As correspondent Maureen Maher reports, police did not focus on Laura as a suspect in the killing, but wondered if she was somehow involved in what happened after the murder. Was Laura an innocent victim herself - a "good girl" - or someone much more frightening? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fight for the Truth: Marty Tankleff
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#15 - Fight for the Truth: Marty Tankleff

Season 21 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/26/2008

Marty Tankleff was only a teenager when he was convicted of murdering his parents. He spent more than half his life in remote New York state prisons, a far cry from his privileged childhood on New York's Long Island. Marty initially confessed, but quickly recanted. He fought for years for his innocence, especially as new witnesses surfaced that could potentially exonerate him. Correspondent Erin Moriarty, who has covered this case for years, reports on this rollercoaster of a legal case.

No Way Out aka Flood of Blame
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#16 - No Way Out aka Flood of Blame

Season 21 - Episode 14 - Aired 2/2/2008

After Hurricane Katrina had passed over southeastern Louisiana in August 2005, many people thought the region had been spared from the most severe damage. But the worst was yet to come: the region's protective levees started to fail, and entire communities were overwhelmed by floodwaters. Thousands had evacuated the region, but others stayed behind to ride out the storm, including the residents and staff of St. Rita's Nursing Home in St. Bernard Parish. The wall of water and its aftermath left 35 of the residents dead, and prompted negligent homicide and other charges against the owners of the nursing home. They faced the possibility of spending the rest of their life in prison. Would and should the owners be held responsible for their decision not to evacuate? Correspondent Harold Dow reports.

Who Killed the Beauty Queen?
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#17 - Who Killed the Beauty Queen?

Season 21 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/9/2008

On Dec. 15, 2005, the small town of Russellville, Ark., was rocked by the news that 19-year-old college student and aspiring beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer had been found murdered inside her apartment. Nona's boyfriend Kevin Jones says he had been trying to reach her numerous times by phone but that his calls and messages had gone unanswered. Eventually, he and his mother decided to stop by Nona's apartment, where they discovered Nona's body. As correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports, Nona had been murdered, beaten to death and left in her blood-spattered living room.

Addicted to Love
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#18 - Addicted to Love

Season 21 - Episode 16 - Aired 2/16/2008

Lesa Buchanan died on the Fourth of July weekend in 2005, after spending a good portion of time with her boyfriend, Dr. Christ Koulis, having sex. Koulis, a plastic surgeon, called 911 when she stopped breathing, and says he performed CPR but that there was no pulse. Investigators quickly focused on drugs. Prosecutors allege Dr. Koulis had injected Lesa with a powerful painkiller during the course of the weekend, which eventually led to her death. But Koulis claims Lesa injected herself, and that she had a drug problem - a claim her family and investigators have disputed. As correspondent Troy Roberts reports, the case ended up in the hands of a jury, who had to decide if the doctor was responsible for his girlfriend's death.

The Long Road
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#19 - The Long Road

Season 21 - Episode 17 - Aired 3/1/2008

The 1986 wedding pictures of Dyke and Karen Rhoads show a predictably joyous young couple, ready for a wonderful life together in the small town of Paris, Ill. Karen was 24 when they married, and had a job as an office assistant at a factory; Dyke worked in landscaping. There was no hint that just months after their wedding their lives would come to a violent end. As correspondent Susan Spencer reports, in the early morning hours of July 6, 1986, a fire engulfed their home.

Stolen Dreams
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#20 - Stolen Dreams

Season 21 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/15/2008

Stephen Trantel was a Wall Street insider who seemed to have it all: a beautiful family, a nice home in an upscale Long Island community, and fancy cars. But what those closest to him didn't know was that he was living a secret life. And as correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports, that secret life began to unravel on one November day in 2003 after what was supposed to be just a day of fishing.

A Long Way from Home
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#21 - A Long Way from Home

Season 21 - Episode 19 - Aired 4/12/2008

Amanda Knox, a 20-year-old honors student from the University of Washington, followed her dream when she moved to Perugia, Italy, to study abroad and learn Italian. But that dream turned into a nightmare when just weeks after Amanda's arrival her roommate was found murdered. Within days of the November 2007 murder, Amanda and her boyfriend were arrested as suspects in the killing and found themselves at the center of a media frenzy. Do Italian investigators have a solid case against Amanda, as they claim? Or is she being "railroaded" - as one American private investigator put in - in a blind pursuit of justice?

The Last Take
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#22 - The Last Take

Season 21 - Episode 22 - Aired 4/26/2008

Christa Helm, an aspiring Hollywood actress, was murdered on Feb. 12, 1977, when she was stabbed and bludgeoned outside her agent's home in West Hollywood. Christa enjoyed the Hollywood life and parties, and according to her daughter hung out with lots of famous people, like Joe Namath, Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty and even the Shah of Iran. But as correspondent Maureen Maher reports, Christa also kept a "love diary," as well as tape recordings of her encounters with the rich and famous. Did the diary and recordings play a role in her murder? Or was she just a victim of a random crime? Investigators are still trying to solve the mystery.

Betrayal
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#23 - Betrayal

Season 21 - Episode 25 - Aired 6/3/2008

California computer whiz Hans Reiser seemed to have it all-a beautiful Russian wife, two children, and a successful career. But the seemingly perfect life hit turbulence when several years into the marriage his wife Nina had an affair with one of his friends. The couple eventually separated and would become embroiled in a nasty custody fight. Fast forward to September 2006, Labor Day weekend, when Nina dropped the children off at their father's house and mysteriously vanished in the hours that followed. Nina's body has never been found. Was her husband-or someone else-somehow involved in her disappearance? Correspondent Maureen Maher reports.

The Informer
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#24 - The Informer

Season 20 - Episode 2 - Aired 9/30/2006

What do you do if you find out your best friends got away with murder? That's the question a young man faced in 2002, when a friend confided in him that the death of an elderly woman, ruled an accident, was actually a case of murder. As correspondent Susan Spencer reports, he had to make a tough choice: keep his silence or betray his friends by contacting the police.

Nashville Blues
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#25 - Nashville Blues

Season 20 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/21/2006

Authorities try to determine whether a jealous husband killed a country music star.