TV Review: ‘Cry Wolfe’

Cry Wolfe TV Review

Reenacted Investigation Discovery series dances up to the line of deceiving viewers

There’s a fine line between entertaining and deceiving, and “Cry Wolfe” — a half-hour series from Investigation Discovery — dances right up to it. Actually, the idea of taking a real-life private detective, Brian Wolfe, and having actors re-create his cases is ostensibly pretty clever. But after a fleeting disclaimer, the series goes the extra mile to foster the perception that this is all real, including shaky hand-held video and even a faux camera crew following Wolfe as he “investigates” leads. In one respect, at least the program’s aptly named, given the tale about that wolf-crying kid whose fibs resulted in nobody believing him.

With his thick Boston accent and brusque manner, Wolfe is certainly a colorful character, even if his cases tend to be of the cut-rate variety. The first two half-hours each focus on wives convinced their husbands are cheating on them, which, in movie terms, puts Wolfe somewhere around the keyhole-snooping level of Jake Gittes in “Chinatown.”

If only. Give their due to the actors who go through re-enacting scenes with Wolfe and his secretary (he insists on referring to her only by her last name, McCarthy), but this attempt to concoct a sort-of hybrid — mixing old-fashioned detective shows with ID’s lurid true-crime-and-infidelity niche — feels like trying to bunt for a hit. Besides, the whole thing likely would have worked just as well if the network had simply mounted it like one of its typical true-crime shows, without all the pretense and artifice.

Granted, many people have come to expect a level of staging and insincerity in their so-called reality TV (TruTV has certainly banked on it), but there’s still something distasteful about trying to mislead viewers, many of whom just stumble onto these shows, and aren’t all that media savvy, while hiding behind such a flimsy disclaimer.

Whether or not that approach makes anybody want to watch “Cry Wolfe,” the casual mendacity in which the genre now regularly traffics is enough to warrant shedding a couple of fake tears.

TV Review: 'Cry Wolfe'

(Series; Investigation Discovery, Tues. June 3, 10 p.m.)


Produced by Karga Seven Pictures.


Executive producers, Emre Sahin, Kelly McPherson, Sarah Wetherbee. 30 MIN.


With: Brian Wolfe, Janine McCarthy

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 196

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Kathleen A. VanDenElzen says:

    I LOVE Cry Wolfe. I wish it would come back for another season. It is about a private investigator recreating a case he worked on with a twist at the end no one saw coming. This is what most of the programs on ID show. I wish ID producers would contact me regarding the unsolved mother’s day murder of my great grandmother and great uncle in 1940. It is the oldest unsolved murder in Outagamie County, Wisconsin. They were both shot in the face and the detectives more or less dropped the investigation when a possible suspect died. In the late 1990’s when my family had a news article printed regarding the murders, present day investigators didn’t even know about the case because the case file had been “misplaced!! And they had to come to us for information. As a new DA said in 1946, “this case has really been bungled!”

  2. Lori says:

    I really want to find my brother.. it’s such a long story as to what took place. He is the lost one in the 5 children my parents have. I don’t know how to go about this. A lot of.hurt feeling with our mom. Yet I know she worries about weather he is dead or alive. He is 51 on Sunday.. possibly wanted by police.. please help if you can – a caring little sister Lori-

  3. EUGENIA BEMIS says:

    LT. Joe Kenda is a reenactment too. But still enjoyable. I love Cry Wolf!!!!Bring it back!!!!X

  4. Danielle says:

    I LOVED this show. Listen, everyone should realize that with reality TV, there is always some level if people “acting”. Look at the Real Housewives, the Kardashians, etc…. At least, to me (and my man…), we found a great level if entertainment. We were pissed it us no longer on. We looked forward to Tuesday night’s at 9:00pm. So wht that they are reenactments….seriously, people need to lighten up….ID…put Cry Wolfe back on!!! It was awesome!!

  5. Cry Wolfe is the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever tried to watch. I mute the TV whenever one of his commercials comes on and wouldn’t watch even two minutes of his program. God, that accent of his makes me want to scream. And that twisted mouth of his is the topper. YUCK!!!!!

  6. Kim says:

    That was 5 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Couldn’t watch anymore. I hate FAKE shows. ID should invest in something else.

  7. I love your show I am 69 years old lookimg for my birth Mother for medical records. My father is my biological father. I have a very interesting story.

  8. Teressa M Frey says:

    It’s ridiculous entertainment for the obtuse.

  9. Marie says:

    Ok… I’m sorry but, this guy is a TOOL!!!

  10. Brenda Carney says:

    I am disgusted that ID would air this FAKE show. I love ID because it gets the FACTS and true stories NOT fake. Take it to one of the other tv channels where its all fake

  11. Nancy says:

    I really could care less how faux any of it is. I am totally entertained by the show and I love the little twist in the story at the end. I love this show and Brian Wolfe and Janine McCarthy do a great job working together in it. (she has lost some major weight and is looking great!) His rough exterior along with his big heart is the combination that makes this show. I always hate to see the season end and I sincerely hope it never ends for good.

  12. Rudy says:

    The big problem I have with this review is— well, nothing. It’s spot on! For a network that draws an audience of critical thinkers, Cry Wolfe is a hollow shell of its smarter siblings. I wish this show would go away already.

  13. Barry says:

    Just watched some of the first episode on Foxtel Australia . It was just to fake to finish watching

  14. gail goldman says:

    This is a fake SHOW…. hope everyone realizes that
    and ID network should be ashamed

  15. Erica says:

    I am really disappointed that ID would allow a format like this on its channel. The show is so fake, I don’t believe it is even based on anything that has really happened. The actor, (Wolfe) use to be on Comedy Central. I will not watch this show again.

  16. Sam says:

    My TV is always set to ID, but when this show comes on, i turn it off. This guy is a horrible actor and its painful to watch. Hes incredibly arrogant and this show takes away ID’s credibility in my opinion. It’s like a really, really bad reality show. Even the kardashians arent this bad at acting… and they are horrible

  17. Anonymous says:

    This show is painfully fake in every way. A totally disappointing way of taking up time that REAL investigative shows can fill

  18. The show is both interesting and entertaining. What I find distasteful is Brian Lowry’s assumption that the viewers ” …just stumble onto these shows, and aren’t all that media savvy…” It was always obvious to me that it was recreated.

  19. Anderson Roth says:

    Wow. This is garbage. Try hiring better actors. The Kardashians called and need their fakes back. Really ID? Tru TV called and want this crap.

  20. pinkopaque22 says:

    This show is sincerely the most terrible thing ID produces. Absolutely no offence to Mr Wolfe as he seems pretty interesting but this is like Cops meets Cheaters with actors.

  21. Ann Throckmorton says:

    A show like this done for real would be a legal nightmare (or, depending on your creds, a dream) as litigation ensued regarding privacy issues. It would be way too expensive for an ID show budget. Love the ID Channel and watch it *too* much, but: Give us a little credit, ID. Don’t mess up a good lineup with something this, um, fake-y.

    • Ann Throckmorton says:

      And, P. S., ID: You guys know we viewers “buy” re-enactments. This show should be presented as one, clearly so, and up front. Don’t try to pass off a re-enactment as a real time, real deal, hidden cameras thing. These stories themselves are probably provocative enough to stand up to re-enactment.

  22. RoseAnn Ryan says:

    If he says “You’ve got to be kidding me one more time…I’m going to follow him and have him arrested for impersonating an actor!!!

  23. Lahlah says:

    The first episode I watched was the one where the wife is being poisoned. Except that I recognized the wife as an actress I had seen before. That led me here. Such bull crap. I’d rather have him sit in a chair and talk about his case files with reenactments put in as needed. Not this junk.

  24. Theo says:

    At first I was really intrigued by this show. I watched the first episode and I actually thought it was reality tv. But when I started the second episode on the DVR I noticed the disclaimer and it all came tumbling down. I lost all interest in watching and I am very disappointed in ID. Two thumbs down, if I had more thumbs I would turn them down also.

  25. Ellen says:

    I love ID and I watch it most evenings. Some shows are excellent, like Neighbors next door, see no evil, how not to kill husband and so many more. NOTHING has reached the lows that this show does. What an embarrassment to ID. “Mr. Wolfe” ,as he makes everyone call him, is arrogant, full of himself, and totally inept as a PI, if he is one. The bleeped out bad words, the cameras chasing him, the u-turns in the middle of the street, the blurred faces, the terrible acting, not to mention all couples involved in suspected affairs like to conduct their embraces outside for all to see, omg. I can’t think of anyone I know who would not notice a surveillance car outside my house, but he never has a problem finding a parking spot with perfect views of the subject, …I can’t even go on, I am so angered that this one is in its third season. What are they thinking?

  26. David says:

    I think this show is BS. For example the police officer supposed to be LAPD had a crackerjack security badge on. And also, a restraining order is not that hard to get especially If the person had been charged with domestic it is given automatically.

  27. Kirstie says:

    I just stumbled across it a few minutes a go on TV & immediately recognized the scripted, fake reality they’re peddling. I’m not interested. I did watch an episode & was put off.

  28. Betty White says:

    Cry Wolf… thank you! Too scripted! He’s too damn arrogant, hope this show ends real real soon!

  29. Chuck says:

    Can’t stand the smug, full of himself, phoney private eye. Give me a break. There’s enough assholes in the world without watching one in action on TV. “And I’m damn good at it!!!” LOLOL What a joke

    • Ellen says:

      Of course he is good at it. All the people he is “surveiling” do their kissing and embracing outdoors like they are posing for his camera. It is so fake.

  30. Janis Love says:

    This is a crap show and clearly obvious.

  31. Stephen says:

    What’s McCarthy’s first name?

  32. madman says:

    Started watching ID recently and LOVE it. Then Cry Wolfe came on and all I could think was; “Oh great, I finally found an interesting channel to watch, but now it’s headed down a steep hill.” Does ID seriously think that the intelligent people who watch this channel want to watch this mindless drivel? Get this crap off! Let some less than 100 IQ channel pick it up. Air it along with some Kardashian or Gene Simmons ( and all the other narcissists) garbage. Thank you in advance.

  33. eleanor thomson says:

    Why would anyone make a show about this guy, he couldn’t even detect that the guy entering Nathan’s house wasn’t Nathan in Nathan for You. I wouldn’t hire him. He stinks at his job and he is rather unappealing in nature!

  34. Greg says:

    I love investigation Discovery but that show is really bad.

  35. Gord R says:

    I just stumbled on the show today and took me about 2 minutes with the mediocre acting to figure out it was all staged. I would not have a problem if the shows producer made a disclaimer right at the beginning that the following is a recreation but I do not recall seeing any disclaimer. It should be made very clear at the very beginning as not to mislead the viewer to think otherwise as some people are very gullible and believe everything they watch on TV.I like Investigative Discovery and I hope they are not now stooping to the reality garbage like some of the other networks have.

  36. dpd566 says:

    This is a great show. I give it 5 stars.

  37. T. Swisher says:

    Possibly one of the worst shows on TV. Why would any studio back this lame attempt at a bunch of BS?

  38. josh says:

    Took me 30 minutes to discover this show was fake!! Horrible show! waste of my precious life minutes…

  39. Gillian says:

    Horrible, horrible program.

  40. I truly thought Cry Wolfe was “Reality” and I would have defended it should I have heard otherwise. Now I learn it is cleverly played by actors. This has been my biggest disappointment. I love Brian Wolfe – I love the stories he supposedly investigates – I would love him more if all his programs were real-time, and true. I have arranged my schedule to fit his showings. I am disappointed – I feel betrayed. I have never seen a disclaimer, which may have “been the kiss which made it all better”.

  41. Debra Morgan says:

    This show is absolutely awful. Wth, ID Discovery! Terrible acting and stupid stories. Please remove this from your programming.

  42. gfc says:

    Cry Wolfe is an insult to my intelligence.

    • Jessica says:

      1. I thought this show was REAL…Reality. Now I’m laughing at myself. Well give me a break I only saw it ONCE last week (rerun) and loved it.
      2. Call me stupid but I’m a Paralegal in Chicago. Naïve maybe!
      3. I have the show on RIGHT NOW. I got suspicious when just when it started, there was a disclaimer: “…Reenactments of cases…” If they’re reenactments WHY do they blur some people’s faces, etc., etc.? To mislead viewers, that’s why. Pretty funny and yes, the joke’s on the viewer!
      4.. When you read “Series Info” on cable, it clearly reads “…Brian Wolfe is followed as he works on cases…” That is apparently a misleading lie.
      5. Thanks for clarifying what I suspected my 2nd time watching this “fantastic” show. Now I’m bummed! Hey, you don’t spot “bad acting’ when it’s allegedly reality. “Real people” don’t act well ; )

  43. Andrea Bell says:

    I hate when this show airs. It doesn’t measure up to ID’s flare. I rather watch repeats of Unusual Suspects or Tamron Hall. I just want to cry when Cry Wolfe comes on or sit back and relax and watch Candice Delong. Give me a break. It’s just to fake. I’m sorry ID, on this one you made a mistake.

    • Jessica, I felt the same as you – in many respects. But now – I would like a CONFIRMATION FROM “CRY WOLFE” that these are indeed actors……..I want their truth, because I am still holding out hope!!!

  44. Nancy says:

    Fake! !!!! This show is terrible! It always starts out one thing and ends up being something way different. Every episode it’s the same thing! Getting annoying!

  45. Carla petty says:

    i thouroughly enjoy Cry wolf. I love going along for the ride with Brian. Looking to more episodes. Investigation Discovery is my favorite channel over all. It is so informstive.

  46. ellen says:

    worst show on ID EVER. ridiculous, contrived, totally implausible..

  47. Jane says:

    Hello, ID peeps, have you read any of these comments? Let me make it clear for you, Cry Wolf sucks! You’re ruining my Tues. nights. I have to turn to Snapped on Oxygen or Forensic Files on HLN. Too bad cuz I like ID but can’t lower myself to watch to watch Cry Wolf, so phony & can’t listen to Brian’s obnoxcious voice & his poor acting. Thanks for listening…..?

    • Shannon says:

      You took the words right outta my mouth, couldn’t have put it any better myself. I don’t understand why I.D. doesn’t listen to all these viewers who hate “Cry Wolfe” and put something worthy in its spot, so we the viewers who hate Cry Wolfe doesn’t have to turn to another channel. Come on I.D. get with it and listen to your viewers.

  48. Tami says:

    I can’t stand this show. Worst actors EVER!! Nothing redeeming about it AT ALL! Just plain dumb.

  49. JJ Smith says:

    My husband and I love Cry Wolfe, he being in law enforcement for over 30 years and also a lawyer, we are wondering how Mr. Wolfe gets some of his information about his “subjects”, if I may call them that. For instance, how does he find out when someone’s finger prints are on a given object, such as the GPS that was ripped out of a vehicle he was searching for on Organ Trail? Does he have a legal means of discovery, since only law enforcement agencies are privy to this information and it is not available to the public? Just deeply curious……..

  50. Loressa says:

    I watch everything on the Id channel and I cant stand to watch cry wolf when it comes on. The show is terrible and u can tell for sure it is all fake.

    • Kirstiepop says:

      He can tell because it’s fake, it’s scripted. The episodes are loosely based off some of his cases.

    • Jane says:

      I totally agree with you. I watch all the episodes on I.D. but can NOT stand Cry Wolf. Fake & insults our intelligence!!!

      • Teresa says:

        Totally agree- i have reverted to old reruns of forenics files on HLN- pls get rid of this show ASAP ID!!

More TV News from Variety