The Untold Truth Of Snapped

If you love the true crime genre, chances are you've heard of Snapped. One of the OG true crime shows, long before podcasts like Serial and My Favorite Murder hooked us in, Snapped premiered on the Oxygen network in 2004, and focuses primarily on women who are accused of committing murder or attempting to commit murder. Often these women are just your average Janes until they, well, snap!

Watching stories about how these seemingly innocent ladies finally lost their cool is apparently good business — the show is still airing new episodes, as of this writing, years and years after it first premiered. But even if you've seen every episode of Snapped, there's bound to be a thing or two you don't know about this thrilling docudrama series. How do they choose which cases to cover? Where is it filmed? What happened to the old narrator? Here is the untold truth of Snapped.

There's a reason Snapped focuses mostly on women

A lot of us don't think of women when we think of killers, and there's a reason for that. According to 2018 statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, women account for only 12.2 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter arrests. So how does a show that almost entirely focuses on women who commit these kinds of crimes maintain its longevity?

Long-time narrator and producer Sharon Martin told E! News in 2017, "To a female audience, there's an appeal to seeing women that are similar to them, or women they know, make these choices and take these drastic actions." Indeed, many women feel a pressure to be perfect, a pressure that can reach a tipping point. It's what makes the Snapped catchphrase — "...and that's when she snapped!" — resonate strongly with many women. 

Martin agreed, adding, "It's relatable because that could [be] me or someone I know. That's what's kept it going for 20 seasons."

Snapped was crucial when Oxygen rebranded as a true crime network

When Snapped premiered on the Oxygen network in 2004, the focus on women made a lot of sense. When the network launched in 2000, Oxygen was focused on creating interactive television geared toward women in their mid-30s, and that included yoga, shopping, and, of course, Oprah — all with a touch of humor. But after the huge success of Snapped, the network realized it was sitting on a potential goldmine. 

In 2017, the network (owned by NBCUniversal) shifted its entire programming schedule to true crime. NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Lifestyle Networks president Frances Berwick told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that the success of Snapped was revealing. "We've had a long history of crime on Oxygen with 20-plus seasons and 14-plus years of Snapped on the network. We've been adding shows outside of the Snapped franchise and have seen those shows do well, too," she said. "It was really just seeing that this young, female viewership we have was really leaning into and getting fanatical about the crime shows."

But Snapped wasn't always the huge success it is now

These days Snapped is synonymous with true crime. The show and its two spin-offs, Snapped: She Made Me Do It and Snapped: Killer Couples, certainly bring in viewers for Oxygen, but back in 2004 when the show premiered, there were no streaming services that let you binge-watch your favorite shows (Netflix launched its streaming platform in 2007, while Hulu became available to the general public in 2008). On top of just having to wait until the show was scheduled to be on the air (remember those days?) true crime also just wasn't as popular yet as it has become. 

Long-time producer and show narrator Sharon Martin told E! News, "True crime wasn't nearly as popular or mainstream as it is now. Everybody else eventually caught up with us. Not to take too much credit for true crime, but the genre grew around us." According to Martin, until that genre really took off, no one knew how long Snapped would last. She also told E! News, "Whether we would be renewed was always a bit of a gamble." Can you even imagine a world where Snapped wasn't renewed?

Sharon Martin left when Snapped went in another direction

Despite the fact that Sharon Martin weathered the uncertainty about Snapped's renewal, narrating the show beginning in 2005 and serving as a producer from the first season, you won't be hearing her voice or seeing her name in the credits for any new episodes. 

On Feb. 18, 2018, Martin posted some big news on Twitter. "Tonight is my final episode of #Snapped. After 20 seasons, Oxygen is going in another direction with the show," she revealed. In an attempt to assuage the frustration of viewers who were bound to be upset, Martin added, "You'll continue to hear me in reruns and we have a fun project in the works. I cannot thank you all enough for tweeting and sending me your thoughts on the series." 

But hearing her voice in reruns is little consolation to long-time fans, who started a petition to bring her back to the show. Unfortunately it only has 188 signatures as of this writing, and Martin is still out.

You might recognize this Snapped narrator for her TV work

If you've been watching Snapped since narrator Sharon Martin's departure and feel like you recognize the other narrator's voice but just can't pin it down, we've got you. Jody Flader took over for Martin beginning in 2018, and the new voice of Snapped has probably been all over your television screen — you just didn't even realize it. 

Her demo reel includes national commercials for Comcast, Ally Bank, and Boar's Head. But if that isn't where you know her from, perhaps it was her small part in the Law & Order Season 20 episode "Crashers." Or, if you're a Gossip Girl fan, maybe it was her memorable turn as Kali in the episode "The Empire Strikes Jack" where her character helped Agnes drug Jenny, leading to Jenny almost being sexually assaulted, as noted by Entertainment Weekly. When Agnes asks Flader's Kali if she gave Jenny "one or two" of the drug in question, Kali replies, "Three," with a smirk. 

Yikes, talk about snapped! No wonder she's a fit for a show about women doing terrible things.

Snapped is filmed all over Knoxville, Tenn.

The crimes covered on Snapped are from all over the United States, but the production company behind the incredibly popular series, Jupiter Entertainment, is based in Knoxville, Tenn., so many of the re-enactments you see on the show happen there. According to Knox News, Jupiter Entertainment almost exclusively uses Knoxville for their re-enactments, including those on Snapped, meaning that Knoxville locations have been used to represent everywhere from Colorado Springs to Costa Rica, to areas in Atlanta and homes in Indiana on their true crime shows. 

Not only are the locations in Tennessee, but the background actors are often from Tennessee too. Knox News reported that the extras for Jupiter Entertainment shows are almost always from East Tennessee, and many of the actors who play law enforcement officers in re-enactments are real-life officers hired through Knoxville talent agency 5-0 Talent. Given that the American South historically has a higher rate of violent crimes than other places in the country, according to Business Insider, it's kind of fitting to have so many murder re-enactments filmed there.

There's a questionnaire that Snapped producers have law enforcement officers answer

Not everyone on Snapped is an actor. Even though re-enactments are a big part of the Snapped formula, there are also extensive interviews with the real-life officers and attorneys on the cases. According to the Salisbury Post, which ran a story about a local North Carolina case that made it onto Snapped, the officers who spoke with producers had to fill out a questionnaire with various facts and details about the cast. 

Detective Jason Owens told the publication that the number of questions was close to 100. He revealed, "They asked us everything. If I had direct knowledge then I told them." But not all of the questions the officers answered were related to direct facts. Owens added, "Some of the questions were opinion, and they asked about the neighborhood." Even then, with all those questions, there's no guarantee the case will be told in an episode. 

The same officer told the Salisbury Post that he didn't hear from the producers for nearly a year after the initial questions, but then he received a request from them for help locating pictures for the show. At least all those questions were worth it!

Some law enforcement officers have a direct line to Snapped producers

If there's no guarantee the producers of Snapped will even do an episode on a case they've researched, how do they decide what cases to investigate and ultimately cover on the show? E! News was able to get the scoop from narrator and producer Sharon Martin. According to their reporting and interview with Martin, the Snapped production team has an entire group dedicated to hunting down and vetting potential stories, but they don't just rely on their own research. 

All over the country, Snapped producers have connections in police departments and prosecutor's offices. When a juicy, high-profile case hits, the producers get a heads-up from those connections. But even though producers may learn about a case while it's still ongoing, Snapped doesn't air episodes until a case has been heard in court and when emotions aren't quite as high. 

According to Martin, "We haven't made any changes to our process based on the surge in popularity [of true crime], but we have always tried our hardest to be very sensitive." Part of this, she said, is keeping in mind that the families she interviews have been through terrible things.

Quite a few of your favorite celebs are Snapped devotees

The love of Snapped isn't limited to those of us who live mundane lives and look to the show for excitement; celebrities are obsessed with it too! Actor Bill Hader told Conan O'Brien during an appearance on his show, "Snapped is rad," before explaining the show's premise. "I love it because there's always a part in every show where the narrator goes, 'And that's when she snapped,' and I love it!" he shared. He isn't the only one. 

Talk show host Kelly Ripa had a total fangirl moment when Snapped narrator Sharon Martin was in the live audience in 2015. Ripa told Martin, "I spend all day Sunday, when I make Sunday dinner, I have the TV on in the kitchen and I just sit there and the kids come in like, 'Not Snapped again, mom!'" Even actress Viola Davis, who told The Wrap that she isn't a "TV watcher," clarified "except for Snapped," before adding that marathons of the show "are addictive." 

Superstar Lady Gaga knows just what Davis means. In 2015, she told Jimmy Fallon that she watches Snapped to relax. She explained, "These women ... they believe so much in their need to kill to survive that they make the most ridiculous mistakes, and it's just, I find it kind of humorous."

Snapped is celebrating its 500th episode in 2020

If you're looking for an old fashioned Snapped marathon, you're in luck. After nearly 16 years on the air, Snapped is set to premiere its 500th episode in November 2020. To celebrate, Oxygen is airing what they call a two-week Snapped experience aptly named "Snapped: The Killer Women Event" in the lead-up to that momentous episode. The event will include the original pilot episode of Snapped along with a never-before-seen episode that the network says involves "a doctor who was found dead on the lacquered floor of his brick mansion, elegant twin sisters with refined Southern accents and millions of dollars at stake." 

Get your popcorn ready! The "Snapped: Killer Women Event" is slated to begin on Nov. 9, 2020, leading up to the 500th episode, which is scheduled to air on Nov. 22, 2020 at 6 p.m. ET. You know Lady Gaga will probably be watching.