Posted: 12:33 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

TLC’s ‘Women of Homicide’ features Atlanta detective Summer Benton 

By Rodney Ho

Summer Benton earned her fedora after closing her first homicide case. She is a star of the docu-series "Women of Homicide" on TLC. CREDIT: TLC

Summer Benton earned her fedora after closing her first homicide case. She is a star of the docu-series “Women of Homicide” on TLC. CREDIT: TLC

Summer Benton, an Atlanta Police Department homicide detective featured on TLC’s new show ‘Women of Homicide,” can rock a fedora as if she were part of “The Untouchables.”

“We’re known as the hat squad,” she said on the show. “You have to solve a homicide before you can get a hat.”

Over five years in homicide, Benton has solved 28 cases and now owns plenty of cool hats.

TLC, which chases female viewers, has had success with its “Police Women” series the past five years, which focuses on crimes in progress. “Women of Homicide” takes a deeper look into specific murders and how detectives go about solving them.

“Our network is about compelling characters,” said Cindy Kain, director of production at TLC. “These women form amazing relationships with their partners, with the forensics team.”

Benton is one of five women out of 18 in the homicide department and one of three detectives on the show. The other two are based in Cincinnati. Benton appears in five of the first season’s eight episodes with her debut Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Shot in late 2012, she solves a case involving a man in Atlanta found dead on his front lawn, a bullet in his head. At first, she has no clear motive, no suspect, no gun. But on camera, she shows patience and determination with minimal drama as she pursues leads and digs for evidence.

Kevin Ott, Benton’s partner, dubbed Benton on the show a “chihuahua on crack rock. She just keeps going. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with her. Sometimes, she’s gets on my last dang nerve but she gets the job done.”

Major Keith Meadows, who headed the homicide department when TLC approached the department, said A&E’s “The First 48,” which focuses on the early hours of a murder investigation, also wanted to film in Atlanta. But he said he found “Women of Homicide” more interesting “mainly because I know the difficult time some women have in law enforcement. I thought it would be a good idea to tell that story. We’ve come a long way over the years. And Summer’s story is compelling.”

Meadows calls her a “Type A personality. Sometimes in a male-dominated field, that doesn’t always go over well. When I was brought over to homicide, I heard some grumbling about her presence. But she’s done a remarkable job in that unit.”

He said her dogged attitude wouldn’t be considered an issue if she were a man. “Some saw her as showing off but she simply works hard and learns. She asks questions. You can distinguish between someone showing off and someone who wants to learn. She takes time to learn her craft. That’s Summer so far.”

At least in the first episode, gender issues are not a factor at all. She simply does her job.

Growing up, Benton said she wasn’t sure if she could be a cop given the fact she was not a man. When her father Steve Benton was with the APD from 1971 to 1986, women were not treated as well as guys on the force, she said. But in her 20s, he had her sit down with a female major in the department who inspired her to apply. “I work very well with guys and girls,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of people.”

For Benton, being a homicide detective is all about justice for those directly affected by the murders. She felt this “Women of Homicide” format would enable her to provide a fuller picture of how investigations work. “On the news, people may see 30 seconds or a minute. They don’t get to see what the victims and families have to go through, the grief process. When we complete an investigation and catch somebody, it’s at least a moment of peace for the family.”

On TV

Women of Homicide,” 9 p.m. Wednesdays, TLC

9 comments
GradyEMS_TrashCollector
GradyEMS_TrashCollector

A bunch of perps are posting here after they learned to use their iPad that they stole from a good citizen in Midtown;


Or an airport babycop tired of giving directions to Mammaw and realizes they won't ever get a chance to be on COPS like the folks of Zones 1 and 3 of yesteryear, and all they can't even get a patrol car, just an APD tricycle scooterthing (not even dented or missing hubcaps!) and getting jealous and just venting....


(much love Summer! you sure grew your hair out. Still living in the shadow of the Federal Pen?)


Just some inter-public safety smack talk.

be safe my friends

bigdoggie1
bigdoggie1

Lawdy, what a bunch of threatened little boys we have commenting about Det. Benton!?! Does a successful woman in male-dominated field scare all you little Paul Broun wannabes?

Good for you, Det. Benton! Keep all the knuckle-dragging males on edge!

RealKat
RealKat

Apparently, the only comments on here are from people who are pretty clueless. ALL detectives (when they solve their first case) are given a hat like that. It helps to identify them at the crime scene(s) as the detective on the case. They also wear large badges. Detectives handle e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e and cannot be taking out their badge to show who they are to everyone. It's not a fashion faux pas to wear the hat - it is a sign that you know what you are doing, besides drinking in a bar. It's also pretty clear why she is doing this show - it helps encourage kids - particularly young women (target audience) to consider this as a career. Better this than doing skanky Miley twerking.

Beau1500
Beau1500

Some 25 or 30 years ago when I lived in Atlanta I frequented Manuel's Tavern which is where all the APD hung out and drank.  One day I noticed all these guys coming in wearing hats straight out of 1940's film noir (see picture of Ms Benton above).  I asked one of the bartenders about it and he told me these guys were all non-uniformed APD detectives.  He said that they had dubbed themselves "the Hat Squad".  Pretty soon they all joined into fashion faux-pas and you could see them all over town, in the news, or out in the bars after work with their  new lids on.  I thought it was about the most stupid, sophomoric stunt I had ever witnessed by people who were supposed to be professionals.  Anyway apparently the tradition lives on but now they appear to have recruited Ms Benton to join the their ranks replete with plunging neckline sweater and "big girl" badge around her neck.  What a joke - all of you people need to grow up.  

Bernie31
Bernie31

I think this Dectective should Quit her Tax payers Paid Job and become an Actress if that is what she wants to do. Have any of you ever seen an FBI,DEA,or ATF dressing like a Clown, while doing their JOB?


I do not think so.....

Bernie31
Bernie31

Mayor Reed what is going here?  Are not Atlanta's finest suppose to be doing their JOBS?

Rickster_
Rickster_

Not surprising that the first thing Rodney notices about her is the fedora!!

Bernie31
Bernie31

@bigdoggie1 - Oh Little Brain who wears Blue! Not just HER alone!...ALL of them...Should be called on the Carpet and told in No uncertain Terms.  We are going to be a Professional UNIT, LOOK and ACT like one. Leave the SHow Boating to HOLLYWOOD! 

Our JOB is to serve and protect the people. If you want to be on TEEVEE turn in yer Badge!


Solving Crime is Our Job and responsibility...Turn off the Cameras and get to WORK!


Here we are Law Enforcement and that is just WHO we will remain!


Servants of The People....

Bernie31
Bernie31

@RealKat Miley Cyrus is not pretending to be a Detective either....Do you see FBI agents,DEA or federal Law enforcement looking like Clowns? the Badge is for indentification purposes not some STUPID HAT! 


The Wearing of the STUPID Hat is nothing but False Pride and EGO. Hats do not solve crimes.


uh..huh