According to A&E, the show has been widely praised by law enforcement agencies and its investigative reports are commonly used in the training of detectives.
Cold Case Files first aired as a sub-series of another A&E crime documentary program, Investigative Reports, also hosted by Bill Kurtis, which ran from 1991–2008. Reruns of the series currently air on broadcast syndication in the United States, usually in lower-profile time slots, and on many RTV stations.
Pilot Episode (featuring Cold Case #1: Murder of Felicia Prechtl by Karl Chamberlain; Cold Case #2: My Brother The Killer; Cold Case #3: The Bob Crane Murder; and Cold Case #4: Case Resolved)
The Boy and the Monster/Secret in the Cellar
The Texas Drifter/The Fingerprint File/A Rose Among Thorns
Through Eyes of a Child/The Killer Next Door – "Through Eyes of a Child" told the story of solving the murder of Michelle Morgan, a 4-year-old child abuse victim who was murdered by her stepmother in 1961. "The Killer Next Door" told the story of John Mcrae, who started killing at 15.
One Night on the Bayou/The Buckeye Misdemeanor
The Mark of Cain/Death on The Freeway
Terror in Telluride/Signature of a Killer
Diary Of A Serial Arsonist/The Lost Clue
Killer on the Strip/The Doll Murder
Murder Illustrated/Blood Relations
The Burning Secret/Justice Delayed
Reconstructing Murder/Fire Flicks
The Missing Informant/Man's Best Friend
Killer in the County
Presumed Dead/The Tow Truck Killer
Portrait Of A Killer/The Tortured Truth – "Portrait of a Killer" told about how NecroSearch, a volunteer team of victim advocates with technical investigation skills, successfully investigated the disappearance of photographer Michelle Wallace, age 25, who had been reported missing from Gunnison, Colorado, in 1974.
The Missing and the Dead
Silent Witness/Innocence Lost
Frozen in Time/Little Girl Lost
Family Secret/Blood Trail
Bodies In The Bay (Copyrights by Author Mason Ramsey) /Till Death Do Us Part
The Merry Widow/The Bad Cop-"The Merry Widow" describes how a woman arranges the murder of her husband to obtain insurance money. "The Bad Cop" covers an attempt by a former State Trooper to disguise a murder as a suicide.
Daddy Knows Best/Dawn of the Dead-"Daddy Knows Best" reveals a child-molesting father who killed his wife and nearly gets away with it. "Dawn of the Dead" pursues the murder of a gas attendant on his first day at work in San Jose, California.
Murder Checks In / Killer in the City-"Murder Checks In": Three women raped and killed in Iowa hotels are the work of a serial killer with keys. "Killer in the City": A frightened Bronx woman is stabbed 39 times, but the suspect claims self-defense.
The Bitemark/Justice for Eglena-Forensic dentistry is key to solving a teen's murder, using a photo of "The Bitemark" on the killer's arm. A young woman whose ravaged body is found in a churchyard has a family who demands "Justice for Eglena."
Sex, Lies and Murder. The episode describes the investigations that lead to the arrest of John Edward Robinson, the "Internet slave master"
The Monster/A Cousin's Promise
A Brother's Burden/The Midnight Attacker
The Well/The Deadly Ex- An elderly man is found in "The Well." His stolen guns lead to his killers. When a young mother's body is found in her car's trunk, a little girl's question is: "Did daddy do it? Is he 'The Deadly Ex'?"
Déjà Vu/Secret In The Well
The Tourniquet/Burning Desire
The Family / The Clue That Stuck-A Mexican crime family is suspected of a teen girl's murder; DNA on a duct tape is "The Clue That Stuck."
Man in the Shadows/The Hitchhiker
A Confession for Carmen/The Girls
A Sister Lost/Rumors of Murder
Smoky Mountain Mystery / A Drop of Blood
Rear Window / The Peeper-"Rear Window": A 23-year-old fails to show up for work, police find her lifeless body. A suspect emerges, but getting a DNA sample requires finesse. "The Peeper": A neighborhood with a Peeping Tom is shocked when a man is murdered and assaulted. Clues? DNA and a barefoot print. Fourteen years later the assailant is caught during another 'peep' job.
The Closers/Caught by an Eyelash
Obsession: Dave Reichert and the Green River Killer
Kidnapped-The parents of Chad Choice, a missing 8-year-old boy in Tyler, Texas, receive a grisly package containing his skull!
A Deadly Affair/The Sting Operation- "A Deadly Affair" leads to a dead husband in Olathe, KS, unsolved for over 20 years; "The Sting Operation" catches a drugstore robber who killed an officer in Beebe, AR.
The Taunt/Death in Deadwood-A rapist/murderer's taunting postcard provides DNA to finger him. Deadwood, South Dakota uses the FBI fingerprint database to locate "Outlaw," an elusive hippie who bashed David Rose with a boulder.
NCIS/Exhuming the Truth
Cross Country Connection/Eyes at the Window
Abandoned Houses/A Son's Memory
A Knock at the Door/Shattered
A Deadly Pattern/A Desperate Housewife
Murder He Wrote/Caught By the Past
Left for Dead/On the Case
Emmy Award: Outstanding Nonfiction Series (2004 & 2005) Michael Harvey (executive producer) Laura Fleury (executive producer) Tania Lindsay (supervising producer) Michael West (supervising producer) Mary Frances O'Conner (producer) Bill Kurtis