Chicago Police Department homicide detective Michele Wood is expanding her beat outside the city limits and onto TV.
Wood stars in the new true-crime series “Dead Again,” debuting at 9 p.m. Thursday on A&E Network.
She joins Joe Schillaci (“The First 48”), a 30-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, and retired NYPD detective Kevin “Spider” Gannon on a team that re-examines controversial murder cases across the country.
“Dead Again” is executive produced by Dick Wolf (“Chicago Fire,” “Law & Order”), whose nonfiction series “Cold Justice” on TNT has a similar conceit.
The eight hourlong episodes of “Dead Again” have the trio of investigators visit a reconstructed crime scene — with no shortage of blood, if the season premiere about a young Ohio mother whose throat was slit in 1999 is any indication.
We’re told Wood, Schillaci and Gannon have no prior knowledge of the crime or the verdict. Their job is to work the case anew before coming to their own conclusion about who’s guilty.
In a decent bid to build suspense, viewers discover at the end whether the new set of investigators reached the same findings that were handed down in real life.
Watching these detectives walk into a reconstructed crime scene as if it’s the real thing feels like the gimmick that it is. But if you’re a diehard fan of true-crime TV, you’ll probably want to add this one to your rotation.
I was supposed to interview Wood, a 13-year veteran of the CPD, for this story. But she and a network spokeswoman called off our talk when I declined their request not to identify Wood as an active member of the CPD. I was told she’ll be described in the show more generally as a homicide detective in Illinois, even though press materials and a rough cut of the pilot made available for review say she’s from Chicago.
This isn’t Wood’s first time in front of the camera. Various internet bios of the Chicago-born law enforcer describe her as an actress, fitness model, Ms. Bikini America contestant and star of a WWE commercial.
In 2011, she and fellow detective John Korolis competed as investigators on ABC’s game show “Take the Money and Run.” Their sleuthing skills won them $100,000 that was donated to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.