AUSXIP had the opportunity to interview Kelly Siegler and Yolanda McClary at theTNT Armchair Detective Junket
about their new
TNT show, Cold Justice, premiering September 3 at 10pm.
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: So excited to meet you two. Watched the pilot episod... it was great.
Yolanda: Thank you
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: The very first thing that I want to know is what sparked your interest to agree to do this show?
Yolanda: it’s actually her interest.
Kelly: I was a prosecutor working on cold cases for over ten years. And so I realized doing that that there were unsolved cases all over little counties in Texas, and, I guess, also the United States, that we could work on and focus our attention on if they wanted us to, and we could do something about it.
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: Okay, that’s awesome. Are the police departments that you go into for a case receptive to you coming in to solve a case that they couldn’t?
Kelly: They have to invite us. We would never go into a town and say here we are the big city people, the know it alls. It has to be a local cop with a case that’s haunted him for years and years, who all he cares about is not who clears it or gets the credit, but he wants to solve his case, so he has to invite us and be willing to do whatever we ask him before we ever go there.
Yolanda: And we don’t really care…it’s not about credit. It’s just about someone that’s willing to turn over all the paperwork from the case to us, not hiding anything back cause it’s all critical. They have to be willing to hand it all over so we can read it, and they have to be willing just to work with us. It’s their jurisdiction. Um…that’s all it takes.
Kelly: You have to have a DA also that’s willing to..
Yolanda: Yeah…that’s on board
Kelly: …acknowledge how the investigation got there and deal with those new complications that might of come up in the course of the investigation.
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: Is it common for them to withhold information even if they invite you to come help?
Yolanda: No,no, no…We just let them know from the get go, even if it’s some taped interview that’s sitting in the bottom of a box, we would really like to listen to it even they don’t think there wasn’t anything important on it or anything else. We just need to know what they know; we need to be in their heads
Kelly: You have to remember a cold case is like a huge puzzle. You go back from the beginning, you put the pieces together , you look at every single little piece where no one’s every been able to do that for a long, long time, and you never know which piece is going to get you somewhere today.
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: With so many cold cases, how do you choose the cases that you do on the show?
Kelly: We get calls from cops all over the country, and also their offense reports, and I’ll read ’em to see if this is a case that we can bring something to the town. If all the leads have been recently followed up on..6 months ago…there is probably not a lot we can do, but there are a lot out there where no one’s focused on them for 5,10,20 years, and there is a lot of play. There are a lot of witnesses still alive, dynamics have changed in the world of the witnesses…divorces have happened, people have gone to prison or gotten out. The whole lay of the land has changed, so it makes a great new potential for being able to solve the case.
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimitedi: What is the hardest part for you about investigating these cold cases?
Yolanda: Witnesses…a lot of times they are deceased, moved along, PDs can’t find them anymore. Um.. evidence sometimes has its issues too, sometimes, depending on where it’s at, how has it been stored. So there is all kinds of hurdles, and then there are things that play in our favor too, like loyalties change, people who were wives and husbands and girlfriends and boyfriends and best friends and everything back then and now they can’t stand each other. We kind of like that sometimes. So… you have hurdles, and then you have some things that help pave it a little bit easier too.
Kelly: And, over time, it seems like guilt kicks in, and doing the right thing becomes more important as you grow older and you realize the most important thing was that someone was killed, and just because they were my friend years ago, I should focus on doing the right thing. And it helps, people do the right thing more as time goes by.
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: So, there are a lot of procedural dramas out there, obviously there are tons…
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: What do you guys think is the show or movie that really, accurately, or closely, represents what you actually do on the job?
Kelly: You know it seems to me like the cop shows are a lot more accurate than the prosecutor shows, cause the prosecutor shows are always about “they just want to win”. You know it’s about their ego, and they turn out to be crooks, so I think cops shows especially these days are much more accurate.
Yolanda: Oh yeah, I think they have done their homework and their studies and actually worked with some PDs to find out how, even if it’s a scripted show, how would you really act. So… I think there is a lot of them that are very well done anymore cause people have actually, like I said, done their homework on ‘em. The only difference is ours is real, there is no script. You’re following us from beginning on end on what we would really do.
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: And, on that same note, there are a lot of people now because of some…it’s a big influence the procedural dramas.. aren’t they? And there are a lot of girls, young women that are looking to get into law enforcement of some kind. Do you have any advice for them on what they should keep in mind as they look into this particular field?
Kelly: I would tell them that, if you think that you would like to be challenged every day when you go to work and you want to work hard and you want to be a CSI or a detective or a prosecutor, it is the greatest job in the world.
Yolanda: It’s a very, very rewarding job, and I think the world is turning on that. There was a time when police departments, it didn’t really matter what job you held, they were pretty much male influenced I think, but that’s a huge turning point. In my last PD, we had some of our deputy chiefs that were women, and they weighed about 100 lbs… okay, so it’s… the world is changing on that as a woman , if this is what you want to do…GO FOR IT!
Kelly: That’s great
AUSXIP/Rizzles Unlimited: On a final thought there, you mentioned a male dominated world. Do we see that shifting where it’s more of a balance of equality, or do we see that shifting where it’s more the women are starting to kind of take on more lead roles than the men; which direction do we see that turning?
Yolanda: I don’t know that it’s balanced. I think women are just starting to take on some of those roles. I think they are showing that they can do the job, too.
Kelly: And I think the way we dealt with it is, if you go into a male dominated world, don’t be that girl with the chip on your shoulder .
Kelly: If they flirt with you, if they call you sweetie, who cares?
Yolanda: You just call them sweetie back.
Kelly: At the end of the day, you’re going to show them that you’re better than them anyway, so just don’t worry about.
Yolanda: (laughs) Now you know why they call her that .
Kelly: I mean, just do your thing…
Kelly: …and you’re going to prove yourself, so don’t get caught up in how they are treating you.
Kelly: I mean look…
Yolanda: No, I mean that’s just it. It’s going to be, it will always be a male dominating world because of what it isn’t. I’m okay with that.
Kelly : Just laugh at it.
Yolanda: Yep, just learn how to handle it.
Twitter: @ColdJusticeTNT / @YolandaMcClary / @SieglerKelly