The Best Episodes of Forensic Files
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2019
See how experts put together the pieces of the crime puzzle. As each episode shows, every criminal leaves a clue behind. Each show features a different forensic technique.
#1 - With Every Breath
Season 4 - Episode 12
Merril Bahe and Florena Woody grew up in starkly different conditions on an Indian reservation that crossed the borders of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The couple soon engaged, and they moved into the Woody family home. On April 29, 1993, Florena started complaining of muscle aches in her back and shoulders. On May 6, her doctor gave her antibiotics for her condition. Florena later died; she simply drowned in the fluid generated by her illness. Doctors had no idea what had killed her. Meanwhile, Merril Bahe started experiencing similar symptoms, and on the day of Florena's funeral he was sent to the hospital, but died on the way there. Investigators found deer mice tested positive for a new form of the hanta virus. They determined that contact with the feces of the deer mice was what had caused the disease, and that when the feces dried, the deadly microbe became airborne.
#3 - The Disappearance of Helle Crafts
Season 1 - Episode 1
In the series premiere of Forensic Files, the longest running true crime series in television history, a Connecticut flight attendant went missing and was never seen again. Police suspected her husband was guilty of murder and they were able to prove it – even though they never found the woman’s body. Originally aired as Season 1, Episode 1.
#4 - The Footpath Murders
Season 1 - Episode 4
English detectives team up with a pioneering scientist to crack a case of sexual assault and serial murder. In 1983, a quiet country village is gripped with fear as authorities search for the killer of 15-year-old Lynda Mann. Clueless, they start again when Dawn Ashworth is killed three years later. They enlist the help of Dr. Alec Jeffreys, a molecular biologist who uses his breakthrough technique of genetic fingerprinting to rule out one suspect by comparing his DNA with that of semen found on the victims' bodies. Police set up a DNA dragnet to trap and convict the real killer. This 1986 murder case is the first to use DNA as evidence in a criminal case.
#5 - The Magic Bullet
Season 1 - Episode 2
A fifteen-year-old boy died from a mysterious gunshot wound to his head while he was sitting in the lobby of his father’s gun club. Ballistics, laser technology, made-to-scale models and the latest in forensic animation showed that bullet had followed a tragic course after a misfire at the outdoor range. Originally aired as Season 1, Episode 2.
#7 - The Common Thread
Season 2 - Episode 1
The year was 1984, and a serial killer was on the loose in Florida. Eight women had been found dead. At each crime scene, investigators found tiny red fibers, fibers they hoped would lead them to the killer. AKA Medical Detectives Season 2, Episode 1.
#8 - Bitter Potion
Season 2 - Episode 5
The flu-like symptoms of a mother and her children proved to be indicative something much more serious: thallium poisoning. Investigators had to find the source of the poison... and when the mother died, to determine if the exposure was accidental, or if they also needed to find a killer. AKA Medical Detectives, Season 2, Episode 5.
#10 - Broken Bond
Season 3 - Episode 12
When a two-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital suffering from brain seizures and breathing difficulties, doctors could not find the cause of his illness. Then the boy’s sister provided an important clue, and raised the possibility of a syndrome of which few had ever heard.
#11 - Ultimate Betrayal
Season 4 - Episode 3
Debora Green lost two children in a fire that burnt down her mansion late one night. Routine procedures occurred and both Debora Green and her previous husband Mike Farrar were questioned. Suspicions arose when Debora refused to cooperate during questioning. Police then questioned Mike and uncovered disturbing stories proving Debora was dangerous. She had poisoned Mike during their separation and told him he would only get custody of the children over their dead bodies. Debora's singed hair and the initial location of the fire proved her involvement in the arson.
#12 - Core Evidence
Season 4 - Episode 10
At 16 months of age, Anne Grace Gimmenstad became very ill and was rushed to the hospital, and within two weeks died. Following extensive medical examinations, it was determined that Anna had been the victim of the deadly bacteria E-Coli. Anna'a mother recalled a trip to the grocery store when Anna pointed excitedly at her favorite drink, Odwalla apple juice. As early as 1993, tests on samples of Odwalla juices found high levels of general bacteria. Federal and state inspections reports confirm that the company used two loads of apples with relatively high defect levels on the day the juice was made. The genetic markings on the E-Coli in the victims matched the bacteria found in the product bottled that day. Odwalla pleaded guilty to violating Federal food safety laws and agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine for the outbreak of E-Coli in its juices.
#13 - Death Play
Season 6 - Episode 5
Marie Robards suffered the devastating loss of her father while she was still in high school. The death was ruled the result of cardiac arrest. One year later, she won a part in her high school production of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The lines she was required to recite onstage were more than the thoughts and feelings of her character; they struck a chord, and hinted at her own inner turmoil, from the secret she had been hiding.
#14 - Sex, Lies & DNA
Season 2 - Episode 4
While Earl Morris was vacationing in California, he learned his wife had gone missing from their home in Arizona. The search for Ruby Morris involved dozens of investigators and scientists, even the coast guard. And the results of that investigation surprised everyone... especially Earl Morris. Originally aired as Season 2, Episode 4.
#15 - Southside Strangler
Season 1 - Episode 6
Shortly after Thanksgiving in 1987, an intruder broke into the Tucker residence in Arlington Virginia. It might have been just another statistic, but the crime committed that night launched a new era in police investigations. This is how DNA evidence and psychological profiling helped catch a serial killer and set an innocent man free.
#16 - Knot For Everyone
Season 3 - Episode 2
In the mid-1980s, bodies of nude woman were found in remote hill of California. The police got a break when a known prostitute escaped an attacker and was able to identify him and his automobile. The suspect was 50-year-old Roger Kibbe. A criminalist was assigned to review the evidence in the case. Human hair found on one of the victims was similar to several hairs recovered from Kibbe's inner thighs. He was later charged with first-degree murder.
#17 - Paintball
Season 8 - Episode 3
In 1962, the people of the small town of Hanford, California lost their sense of peace when one of their own, 15 year-old Marlene Miller, was murdered. It would take 24 years and countless retrials before forensic scientists discovered the microscopic evidence that brought the killer to justice. Originally aired as Season 8, Episode 3.
#18 - Legionnaires' Disease
Season 1 - Episode 7
Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States, played host to millions of tourists and hundreds of gatherings as America celebrated its 200th year of independence. History was made that summer of 1976 -- not because of the bicentennial, but because of the mysterious death of 34 Legionnaires.
#19 - Planted Evidence
Season 1 - Episode 5
Early one morning in a deserted area outside of Phoenix, a motorcyclist discovered the body of a young woman. She had been beaten, bound, strangled and possibly raped. The nearby plants would tell investigators more about the killer than any other single piece of evidence. Originally aired as Season 1, Episode 5.
#20 - The House That Roared
Season 1 - Episode 3
A woman disappeared and her husband became the prime suspect -- especially after police found a huge bloodstain on the carpet of their bedroom. When they sprayed the bedroom with Luminol, they discovered it was awash with blood spatter. Complex DNA testing proved it was the wife’s blood. Now all they had to do was find her body. Originally aired as Season 1, Episode 3.
#21 - The Wilson Murder
Season 1 - Episode 8
On the night of May 22, 1992, Betty Wilson returned home after a meeting. She walked up the stairs to the bedroom and discovered her husband, lying in a pool of blood. Jack Wilson had obviously been murdered... but how? And by whom? Even the experts couldn’t agree. Originally aired as Season 1, Episode 8.
#22 - Dessert Served Cold
Season 8 - Episode 1
The Richard Alfredo Case. When a Massachusetts man dropped dead of an apparent heart attack, no one thought foul play was a possibility until police looked into his girlfriend’s odd behavior in the days before his death. Controversy surrounded the case for almost a decade, which pitted competing teams of toxicologists against each other: One claimed the death was due to natural causes, and the other said it was cold-blooded murder.
#23 - Out Of The Ashes
Season 3 - Episode 13
On a cold December night in 1993, Rose Larner stopped in a convenience store on her way to her boyfriend’s house. She was never seen or heard from again. Rose’s disappearance remained a mystery, until a tiny clue found years later revealed a tragic tale of drugs, romance and revenge. Originally aired as Season 3, Episode 13.