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The following article incorporates descriptions of violence.

A&E’s The First 48 has been in comparison with FOX’s 24 as a result of each TV sequence characteristic a ticking clock that creates suspense by counting down the seconds on-screen. However, the 2 reveals had one thing else in frequent: a dynamic, artful and relentless protagonist. The nonetheless presumably returning 24 made Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer right into a near-ideal hero who went above and past to save lots of the day — even when it meant briefly dying or giving up his freedom. Jack grew to become greater than an agent; he commanded the respect of his colleagues, the eye of his enemies and made an impression in every single place he went. While The First 48 is not so dramatic, it had its personal equal of Jack Bauer in a detective who was unbelievable to observe and gave viewers hope that heroes nonetheless existed.


Investigator Kevin Leonpacher was launched with the Atlanta, Georgia murder unit in Season 16, Episode 3, “Lying in Wait/With This Ring.” The Florida native was one of many first detectives that the viewers met when he responded to a criminal offense scene to get the lay of the land for lead investigator Scott DeMeester. Leonpacher continued to play an necessary function in supporting different officers much like Jason White till he was lastly featured in Season 17, Episode 17, “The Ties That Bind.” That episode confirmed unequivocally that Kevin Leonpacher was the identical compelling protagonist as Jack Bauer in 24.


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In “The Ties That Bind,” a person was slain by an assault rifle — and it took Leonpacher only one dialog with the sufferer’s widow to infer that she knew who killed him. Rather than confront her about it, he prioritized her emotional well-being whereas additionally affirming his dedication to her late husband. “It is greater than only a job for me to come back right here and be the one which’s liable for doing proper by Barry,” he insisted. Leonpacher was extremely respectful of her predicament, and much more sympathetic when it emerged that the killer was her personal son. He handled her with compassion, ready for her to be prepared to inform him the reality and caring as a lot about what she was dealing with because the investigation itself.


However, that empathy did not preclude him from making arduous selections. The First 48 captured the second when Leonpacher, getting ready to take a warrant out for lesser prices, found that the suspect had an 18-page prison report. He made the choice to cost him with homicide and identified within the episode’s conclusion that folks must be held accountable for his or her habits the primary or second time reasonably than ready till it escalates.

His phrases to the sufferer’s widow described Leonpacher completely: working murder was his objective in the identical means that Jack needed to save the world. But whereas Jack did so by actually preventing for it, Leonpacher’s energy got here from his means to attach with folks. At the top of “The Ties That Bind,” his heartache was apparent as he opined about not having the ability to do something to assist that household.


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Leonpacher’s subsequent characteristic episode was Season 18, Episode 2, “Taken for a Ride.” It concerned a sufferer shot in entrance of an elementary college, and in contrast to most First 48 instances, a suspect was obvious straight away. Witnesses instantly gave him a reputation that had come up in different investigations, resulting in a very 24-esque scene during which the suspect simply occurred to drive by whereas Leonpacher was trying to find him. After patrol models pulled the automotive over, Leonpacher walked proper as much as the suspect and confronted him: “You and I’ll not have met, however your identify’s really come up earlier than,” he mentioned.


There was no sensible purpose to take action; like Jack, he was taking a stand. He additional asserted his power through the interrogation when he was unafraid to name the suspect out for enjoying dumb — the one time he ever misplaced his mood on the present, however Jack Bauer by no means flinched from a problem, and neither did Kevin Leonpacher.

He returned in Season 18, Episode 8, “Deadly Favor/Just Kids.” Leonpacher began a step behind, because the sufferer had been up and speaking to docs after being shot, solely to cross away two days later. It was an odd case, made weirder by the truth that the suspect had no prison historical past. Aside from watching Leonpacher piece collectively a criminal offense with little greater than telephone interviews and surveillance footage, the episode was outstanding for his real curiosity towards the suspect. He had empathy for the younger man and truthfully wished to know the way he’d made a life-altering resolution. Kevin Leonpacher’s The First 48 episodes weren’t solely about particular person instances; he had nice perspective in regards to the greater image and idealism to need to make the world higher.


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However, that heat might simply as simply give method to nerves of metal if somebody determined to cross him, and in these moments he had as a lot display presence as The Lost Boys alum Sutherland did. Season 18, Episode 21, “House of Horrors/Final Sacrifice” was an instance of how he commanded consideration. Faced with the violent capturing of a person who died defending his pal, he wasn’t shy about expressing his incredulity, very similar to Justin Ritter out of Tulsa. Leonpacher once more confirmed such compassion when talking to the person the sufferer had saved and promising to do proper by his pal, however when it got here time to speak to the shooter, he was as cool as the opposite facet of the pillow. Leonpacher was considered one of The First 48‘s most well-spoken detectives, even in essentially the most weird or troublesome of conditions.

Season 20, Episode 7, “The Visitor” showcased Leonpacher as he unraveled the homicide of a person killed after inviting a stranger into his house. The episode that spanned over a 12 months as he chased leads and waited for DNA outcomes. Yet essentially the most telling half got here early on when he was compelled to make the dying notification over the telephone for the reason that sufferer’s household lived in Alabama. Audiences have been aware of not simply their ache however how Leonpacher was visibly upset having to do one thing that non-public so impersonally. He carried that household’s ache with him as he embarked upon an investigation with quite a few useless ends and conflicting leads. Yet like Jack, he was undeterred and he pushed via by pressure of will.


“The Visitor” supplied nice perception into Leonpacher’s investigative course of. The First 48 viewers watched as he did every thing from examine site visitors cameras for the sufferer’s stolen automotive to old style legwork within the neighborhood. His thriller was additional sophisticated by Det. Calvin Thomas catching a case with an identical modus operandi, giving Leonpacher two suspects to play off each other. In order to get to the reality, he walked them into their very own lies via a sequence of methodical interviews; the DNA was the final instrument he used to get a confession. It was one of many present’s finest examples of what it actually means to work murder. 24 pulled plot threads via complete seasons as Jack discovered new secrets and techniques, and The First 48 confirmed 15 months of Leonpacher’s dedication.

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That identical season A&E aired the spinoff The First 48 Presents: Homicide Squad Atlanta, with Leonpacher the main focus of the miniseries’ fourth episode, “Secrets & Lies.” Once once more, he was confronted with a suspect who thought they might out-talk him, and he was having none of it. The killing of a person in a car parking zone solid suspicion on his pal, who walked off whereas he was being overwhelmed and shot. Leonpacher discovered the homicide, however solely after going via a perplexing assortment of individuals.

The First 48 caught him coping with a lady who let complete strangers drive her automotive to the crime scene and confronting the pal, who tried to say the killer’s quantity was in her telephone as a result of the sufferer was utilizing it… after his dying. Leonpacher’s nonplussed expression all through her absurd rationalization summed up your complete episode.

But “Secrets & Lies” additionally highlighted an underrated a part of his character: the hero’s humorousness. The spinoff captured Leonpacher’s “you are not severe” look, gave viewers him enjoying “good cop / unhealthy cop” with Det. Brett Zimbrick and led to considered one of The First 48‘s finest strains when Leonpacher informed Det. Tracy Casey that his suspect was going to have “a ‘come to Leonpacher’ second.” Leonpacher’s means to snicker on the absurdities of the case was an instance of how Atlanta Homicide was almost as beloved as the long-lasting Tulsa Homicide squad.

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Leonpacher’s final look was headlining considered one of The First 48‘s most compelling episodes in Season 21, Episode 2, “Taken.” The installment might have been an episode of 24 because it carried the identical nerve-wracking pressure all through. A younger man and his pregnant fiancée have been kidnapped and shot after a botched house invasion, and Leonpacher pushed the investigation as arduous as Jack ever pushed himself. At his finest, Jack Bauer was a pressure of nature who stared down the worst of evil and in “Taken,” Kevin Leonpacher was a pressure for justice as he hunted a sociopath whereas the lives of a pregnant lady and her unborn youngster hung within the stability.

“Taken” was one of many highest-stakes episodes within the sequence’ 18-year historical past, and Leonpacher was the one detective who might have dealt with it. His depth, fast considering and deft means to deal with folks have been all on show on this case. He emphatically pushed again on the sufferer’s stepfather when the person claimed he did not know who was concerned, regardless of the suspects having focused his home and referred to as him by identify. Leonpacher additionally handled a number of witnesses who turned out to be suspects, forcing him to play each “good cop” and “unhealthy cop.”

And after uncovering a chilling voicemail unintentionally recorded through the kidnappings, he sneakily utilized it to get one perpetrator to incriminate himself. Leonpacher closed his investigation by actually staring pure evil within the face when he received the second man within the interrogation room. The suspect casually confessed to the shootings and Leonpacher met him on his stage, calmly prompting him to inform each final element, together with his heinous perception that the victims have been “collateral injury” for the failed theft.

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As all this was occurring, Leonpacher was nonetheless involved in regards to the second sufferer and her child — relieved that the kid was okay and later heartbroken when he discovered that the younger lady did not survive. Similar to Jack, he skilled emotional highs and lows whereas not stopping his mission. In truth, the feelings solely appeared to gasoline him; he poured every thing he had into the investigation and he received justice. That willingness to put all of it on the road grew to become Jack’s defining attribute; he gave up mates, family members and his high quality of life, however he nonetheless rose to the event. Leonpacher left viewers with the identical hope that even within the worst case, there was somebody on the market undaunted in doing the correct factor.


While Atlanta dropped out of The First 48 after Season 21, Kevin Leonpacher’s influence on the sequence resonated afterward. No different detective has been as intense to observe or had instances as sophisticated as those that landed on his desk. Leonpacher continues to be on obligation, so he continues to save lots of the day even when followers do not get to see it. But for the years that The First 48 adopted him, he was a real-life hero pretty much as good as any fictional character. Jack Bauer could be proud.

The First 48 airs Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. on A&E, with previous episodes out there on the A&E app.

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