Executive Producer Laura Fleury has developed some of the most exciting shows on A&E, including The First 48 and Crime 360. Now, she explores the heart pounding, high stakes journey that is Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force.
The U.S. Marshals are charged with catching the some of the country's most dangerous criminals. How has your experience working on the show informed your idea of public safety?
Laura Fleury, Executive Producer for Manhunters: The men and women of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force are outstanding, and deeply experienced, individuals. Their commitment and dedication to pursuing fugitives and making the streets of this country safe for all of us is truly extraordinary. I feel much safer knowing they are on the job. The NY/NJ Division, which is based in NYC and is the focus of our series, is closing in on its 36,000th arrest since its inception in May 2002. They average over 7,000 arrests per year.
In recent years, television has taken a major interest in real life experiences of America's law enforcement agencies. What interested you about this one in particular and has it lived up to your expectations?
LF: A&E has a strong and long-lasting commitment to telling the true stories of law enforcement professionals. Because we tell our stories through real people as they do their real jobs, we're able to show the public the hard work and tireless tenacity of these real-life heroes as they work to solve crimes, police the streets, and fight the drug and gang problems around the country. When we were presented with the opportunity to work with the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and specifically with the NY/NJ chapter, we jumped at the chance. It has been a great honor and privilege to work with each and every one of them, and we think audiences will be thrilled to get to know them as they do their important, and sometimes very dangerous, work. And this access is particularly exciting because it is completely unprecedented. No other network has EVER been granted access to film an ongoing real-life series with the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
How do you feel that the personalities of the individual Marshals make them particularly suited for their jobs?
LF: You don't get to be a member of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force if you aren't at the top of your game. Each Marshal has extensive experience and ability. They really are the elite of law enforcement. They are incredibly dedicated and hard-working. They take their love of this country to a level that most people don't, and although they would never think of themselves this way, they really are heroes. Read the Marshals' Bios
Working with a task force that deals with such violent offenders obviously requires a certain level of discretion. What sort of balance was there between the discretionary requirements of the force and the dramatic demands of the show?
LF: One of the reasons that A&E has earned such incredible access with the Marshals, and with all of the other law enforcement agencies that A&E works with in our other shows, is that we never forget that we're dealing with real crimes, real victims, real suspects and real ongoing investigations. We work very closely with the agencies and departments to make sure that the investigations, and safety of all concerned, are not compromised by anything that appears in the show.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working on this show for you personally?
LF: I've really enjoyed working with the Marshals, they've been extremely cooperative and a pleasure to work with. They're also a great group of people, really down-to-earth, good people, and I'm grateful to know them.