By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
As a former homicide investigator with the Birmingham Police Department Chris Anderson is used to searching for the truth. That’s what he will be doing in a reality show, Reasonable Doubt, which premieres tonight at 10/9 c on the Investigation Discovery Channel.
Anderson stars alongside Melissa Lewkowicz, an attorney from Los Angeles who specializes in criminal defense. The first season will have 10 episodes, where the two will reopen cases in California, New York, Baltimore and New Orleans.
The first case revisits the conviction of Mac Phipps, a former rapper with No Limit Records. The case and investigation took place in New Orleans and gained national attention.
“This case was one of the public cases that I had a little knowledge about,” Anderson said in an interview. “A lot of high profile people in the hip hop industry have been advocating for him for years. It wasn’t until we dove into the case when I found out as much as I did when we did our investigation.”
Anderson and Lewkowicz reopen closed cases to evaluate findings and either offer the convicted family’s hope for an appeal, or confirm that their loved one really is guilty.
“We film in one week increments, and during that time we take leads that the family gives us,” he said. “They tell us five issues they had with the case. We take those issues and investigate those leads and take them even further.”
Anderson, who worked for 17 years in the Birmingham Police Department, said he wasn’t sure how the partnership with Lewkowicz would work.
“She and I worked on two different sides of the law. I thought ‘this is going to be a problem,’ but I didn’t know who she was and she didn’t know who I was,” he said.
After their first production meeting, which was the first time the two met, Anderson and Lewkowicz talked and within 30 minutes Anderson said he “found out exactly who she was and how compassionate she is for investigation of truth and justice; and that’s exactly how I am.”
“Since that moment in that 30-minute conversation, she and I have worked very well together,” he said.
Anderson said he wants the show to spark the conversation of what’s happening with criminal cases not just among African Americans. “I hope that everyone tunes in and watches the show. I hope we turn some heads and start some conversations,” he said.
This isn’t his first time on TV. He was a detective in several episodes of “The First 48” during its filming in Birmingham.
“As a homicide investigator, you’re searching for the truth, and that’s exactly the same thing we’re searching for in Reasonable Doubt,” Anderson said. “Not only are we there to free those that are wrongfully convicted, but we’re also there to deliver that hard truth to the loved ones who may be serving time with the family members who were correctly convicted of the crimes that they went to prison for.”