Kenda kindles fire with sarcasm

Published 11:10 pm Thursday, September 3, 2015

Now that I’ve met him, I can personally vouch that Lt. Joe Kenda is just as cool in person as he is on his television show.

I had to admit to him — and he was fine with it — that I had never seen “Homicide Hunter” before Kenda showed up to be interviewed here at the Suffolk News-Herald office earlier this week.

He admitted he doesn’t like talking to the press. That made us even.

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So my unfamiliarity with the show made me somewhat less starstruck than he reports others around town have been since he moved here, including the Home Depot worker he told me couldn’t even speak as she handed him the tape measure he’d asked for.

But after meeting him and enjoying his company for an hour, I was compelled to watch the show. I wanted to see how much of his matter-of-fact, biting sarcasm came through the television process unscathed.

Answer: All of it. Just as I suspected.

Being a connoisseur of sarcasm myself, although only an amateur compared to Kenda, I was kept laughing during our chat in the newspaper’s conference room. It’s an odd thing to say about a conversation that mostly revolved around homicide cases, but Kenda’s keen observations about the duplicity, iniquity and downright stupidity of the suspects he tracked down was too much to resist.

“Homicide Hunter” is fairly unique among crime shows in that it features an actual former detective — Kenda worked in Colorado Springs, Colo. — talking about his own cases. There’s no script written by some writer, not even by Kenda himself. He simply ad-libs and lets the producers take out the profanity later, he jokes.

Also unlike most crime shows, “Homicide Hunter” focuses on the importance of the oldest police tactic in the book — interrogation, or what Kenda calls “conversation.” It played a vital role for a guy who slogged through the vast majority of his career before anybody had ever heard the term “DNA.”

If you’re interested in the chance to meet Kenda in person, you can take your chances with running into him at a store or a social event. Or you can keep your eyes glued to the Suffolk News-Herald for the next few days — word on the street is that he’s the master of ceremonies at an important pre-Peanut Fest happening coming up in a month.