True Grime: Crime Scene Cleanup is the kind of show that makes you wonder why it was made into a show. Who thought there would be a following for this kind of gut-wrenching, depressing show? Maybe there is such a following. In that case, it’s likely there isn’t a strong following, which is why ID channel only signed up for three episodes of this new documentary series. The show is stomach-churning, depressing and sinks to a new low. Why would anyone want to film crime scene cleanups and grieving friends and family for entertainment? How is that even entertainment?

Needless to say, it was difficult to watch the show without feeling nervous and saddened. Not only was the subject matter the gross and depressing point; the execution and display of the subject matter are what really did the show in. It was a given that there would be real crime scenes, meaning real blood, real homicides, suicides, etc. That was all expected, so viewers could either stay on the channel or find something more to their tastes. Viewers can brace themselves for what will be on the show. However, what wasn’t expected was the back stories that depicted the families and friends grieving the deaths of their loved ones. That was not expected, and it was a bit too much to see. Knowing that the victims died and the events are real is easier to get past than seeing the pain the grieving families and friends are going through. The show is not only about the cleanup of the crime scenes; viewers get a very up-close and uncomfortable viewing of real grief and pain at the loss of life.

It’s to be understood that humans are curious and interested to know about different things. We find other people’s lives interesting in many cases. For the most part, we like to discover and try new things. Many people may even have a morbid curiosity, as evidenced by the large selection of crime scene shows (both fictional and real) on television today. Even knowing this, I am of the type that believes some things are better left unknown. This show is one of those things. Now, I am not prone to disgust or revulsion at painful, disturbing and unsightly images. I do not enjoy seeing such images, so perhaps that is where I differ from some people. Maybe I have a stomach of steel in that regard. However, I could barely sit through an episode of True Grime, and not because of the images. Again, it was because of the back stories and seeing the grieving families and friends. Knowing what they must be going through is all the more painful. It feels as though I don’t belong there. I shouldn’t be seeing their sadness and grief. It feels like an invasion of privacy at such an emotionally distressing time.

The show is so disturbing because of the entire concept, the workers, the work and the morbid atmosphere. Life and death are presented so lightly on the show. Cleaning up crime scenes is only a matter of making money and of detaching oneself from what clearly went on in the crime scenes. It’s overly depressing, and I would be very surprised if many people were jumping to watch the whole show. The grieving clients on the show are sad and vulnerable. The services they get from the crime scene cleaners are free, since they are filmed. That, to me, feels like even more exploitation. It feels wrong to make a buck on someone else’s sadness and troubles. It feels wrong to watch it.


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The owner of the crime scene cleaning company is emotionally reserved, withdrawn, mechanical, and mean. It’s abundantly clear to viewers of the show that he rarely interacts with his clients, since his conversation with the clients on the show are very strained and awkward and forcibly light-hearted on his part. It’s confusing then that he would bother showing clients on his show. Furthermore, he got into the business solely for money, so he dedicates himself very seriously to his business, and he expects that of all his workers. He expects too much, and works his employees too hard. The “veteran” in his business has worked there for barely a year, even though the business has been running for many years. The business is too much for many people to handle, and I feel that it would also be too much for many people to watch. And I think even fewer people would be willing to buy the over-priced merchandise from the show’s site. But, hey, I guess I can’t blame them for trying to make a buck. Okay, no, actually I can. It’s just wrong.

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