The First 48 season 22 is now airing on A&E, giving television viewers access into the worlds of some truly exceptional police officers. There have been dozens if not hundreds of detectives that the show has been able to spotlight over the years, and as a longtime fan, I wanted to take some space to appreciate those who not only make the show the success that it is but more importantly are so great at what they do.
Disclaimer: In the interest of brevity, these features are limited to detectives who are currently being featured on The First 48 (still on the show)—otherwise I’d be writing dozens of articles and a whole essay about how Justin Ritter and Matt Frazier are my version of Batman and Robin.
The special thing about Detective Jermaine Rogers is that he’s all of us. He’s one person on The First 48 that everyone can relate to, whether there’s something about him that we identify with or we just take joy in him being on our TV screens.
Jermaine (who’s taken center stage in such episodes as season 17’s “Runner Runner” and “Bloodlines” from season 20) is a ray of sunshine whenever he appears. Which is quite a bit, as Mobile Homicide has a smaller team—in season 18’s “A Murder in Mobile” it’s said there are only five homicide detectives—so even when he isn’t leading an episode, you’re still likely to see him pop up somewhere. In a profession that can be really dark and faces the worst of humanity, Jermaine is the antithesis of that.
He has a strong connection to his community that comes through in most of his featured episodes. A&E’s ads for The First 48 season 22 feature a soundbite from Jermaine talking about community. Part of that comes from his having roots in Mobile, as we learn throughout his time on the series, but the other part is that you can see he really emphasizes caring for the citizens affected by homicide and working with them to close cases. While every detective makes an effort to connect with their city, for Jermaine that’s what motivates him.
It’s especially great when he partners up with Det. Julius Nettles, because those two in particular have an awesome rapport with each other. They compliment each other well in the sense that Jermaine is outgoing and can get on people’s good sides easily while Julius is more soft-spoken and able to get tough with suspects or an uncooperative witness. One thing that The First 48 has highlighted is the importance of partnerships and team dynamics in police work—it’s not just about individual talent—and Nettles and Rogers are one of the best duos in the show right now.
What stands out the most is that The First 48 viewers have taken a journey with Jermaine Rogers more than any other homicide detective who’s been featured on the show. When we met him in “Runner Runner,” that was his first case as lead investigator in homicide. We’ve met both his brother and sister through phone calls he’s made on the show; he’s spoken openly about his brother’s incarceration for drug dealing and their relationship. It was a neat thing to hear how his brother influenced Jermaine, and how proud he is of Jermaine’s accomplishments.
We grieved with him in “Bloodlines” when he found out a murder victim was his cousin, and we celebrated at the end of another episode when we got to see Jermaine welcome his newborn baby. No other detective has had that much of their personal life make it into the show. We learn little facts from the intros or we see pictures of their kids on their desks but we don’t actually get into their home lives. With Jermaine we’ve really gotten to know him—and it’s also admirable that he’s talked about challenges in his life that other people might prefer to keep private.
But Jermaine Rogers feels like someone you want to hang out with. He’s an inspiration to get out and work in our own communities, and to be a little more positive in a cynical world. Because if Jermaine can be so upbeat and enjoy life with everything he sees, it makes you want to be like that, too. With Mobile back for the current season he should be front and center again sometime soon to remind us that there are still truly good guys out there.
The First 48 airs Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on A&E. Fans can also watch every episode on the A&E app with a cable provider login. For the previous article in this series spotlighting Atlanta Homicide’s Kevin Leonpacher, click here.
Article content is (c)2020-2022 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.