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Crime Watch XY is a manhunt series that is now a classic and a successful tool in the fight against criminality. A host guides viewers through the program and, in collaboration with police authorities, presents and elucidates unsolved crimes. The program’s goal is to clear up these crimes during the public manhunt with the help of tips by viewers. In each program, five or six unsolved criminal cases are presented in the form of approx. ten-minute film reconstructions (film cases). Other cases are also treated in which fugitive criminals are being sought on the basis of superimposed photos and identikit shots (studio cases). Viewer tips can be given by phone or online. An average of about 40 % of the aired cases have been solved.

Crime Watch XY is one of the most successful TV formats on German television and was the first reality show in the world. It was also broadcast on BBC One in the UK from 1984 until 2017. The US-version of the series, called America’s Most Wanted, was on air on Fox from 1988 until 2011 and from then until 2013 on Lifetime.