SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A TV series featuring the life of a former Shreveport homicide detective and the cases that he was driven to solve will debut on Investigation Discovery next week.
Murder Chose Me is a 10-part series featuring the top murder cases worked by former Shreveport homicide detective Rod Demery intertwined with the story of how he has dealt with the murder of his own mother when he was just 3 years old.
During his 17 years with the Shreveport Police Department, Demery was involved in more than 250 homicide investigations and was the primary detective in more than 60 homicide arrests.
Besides helping to put a lot of killers behind bars, his work has given closure and justice to families left behind.
After a special screening of the series first episode in downtown Shreveport Wednesday night at the Robinson Film Center, guests had a chance to talk with Demery and crew about the show, the cases featured on it, and the lives of the real people affected by the violent crimes he investigated.
Demery, now a homicide investigator with the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office, says telling their stories is more than just a job or a TV show.
"My hope is that people will be able to humanize murder again and people realize that people are actually affected and they can see the real life stories," said Demery.
Now that he works in the District Attorney's office, he says he is getting a whole new perspective on the criminal justice system.
"Here, I see all aspects of it. Police are looking for a person, to solve a crime, but with the DA's office, there's justice to be delivered. That's a huge aspect you don't see as a police officer. With the DA's office it's more analytical. You get to see how justice is handed out."
His boss, Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart, attended the special screening Wednesday.
"I'm very happy for him. We think it will bring people to look at us in a positive manner and he's a very professional person in the way that he goes about his job."
"It's pretty overwhelming," said Demery of the turnout and show of support during Wednesday's screening. "I see a lot of friends a lot of family people I've worked with over the years it's indescribable. It's incredible."
Between his personal experience with her unsolved murder and his own brother becoming a convicted killer years later, a tragic theme emerges throughout the anthology-style series of hour-long episodes. It's the same theme that drives his motivation to deliver justice and it's what caught the attention of producers who worked with him on an episode of Fatal Attraction several years ago.
Demery says an interview he did as part of a profile on one of his cases led to a call from the producers who wanted to know if he would be interested in doing another series. That series became Murder Chose Me.
"I think the title came from an interview I was doing with one of the producers," Demery told KSLA News 12 back in December while sharing a first look inside the crime series. "I said, 'I didn't choose murder, it chose me.' And it just kind of stuck."
While Demery himself appears in the series, he is also portrayed by actor John Nicholson in several episodes.
"I'm proud to be able to call him my friend and I'm excited about being able to portray him in the show," Nicholson Wednesday night. "I want to make sure that I do him proud and I want him to feel like his life is being represented well by what I'm doing."
Besides the fact that the two look a lot alike, Nicholson says it was Demery's back story that attracted him to the role.
"He came out of a situation to where - maybe had he taken a different turn - his life would've been different. He made something positive out of what would be described as, you know, really ugly negative beginning. And that's inspiring."
Homicide cases featured in the first season of the new show include the September 2001 shooting death of Stoner Hill neighborhood resident Albert Small; the November 2001 slaying of Nicholas Cox, a US Navy sailor home on leave; the September 2008 murder of pregnant teenager Tavia Sills; the July 2011 home-invasion/robbery slaying of Roshenna Crowder; the August 2002 stabbing death of J.W. Fuller; the July 2002 killing of Drexelle McBride; and the November 2012 carjacking and robbery murder of 68-year-old Rose Coleman.
The murder of Demery's mother, Barbara, in Sweeny, Texas, in May 1969 will close out the first season.
Murder Chose Me officially premieres Wednesday, February 15 at 10/9 p.m. CT on Investigation Discovery.
Investigation Discovery channel guide
AT&T U-Verse: Channels 260/HD 1260
Comcast Xfinity: Channels 111/HD 387
DirecTV: Channels 285/HD 285
DISH: Channels 192/HD 192