EXCLUSIVE: We Catch Up With Derrick Levasseur On “Breaking Homicide”

Derrick Levasseur his and his latest popular show Breaking Homicide.

Derrick Levasseur
Derrick Levasseur

Many Investigation Discovery fans know exactly who Derrick Levasseur is and his latest popular show Breaking Homicide.

Kris is great. He really is one of the smartest people I know. He’s taught me a lot about the psychology behind why people commit crimes and it’s changed how I approach the cases we work on. 

Breaking Homicide digs to the heart of cold cases that may be forgotten over time and seeks to find answers for friends and family of victims of homicides who, otherwise, possibly have no other recourse in getting closure for what happened to their loved ones. In the bevy of cold cases out there, Levasseur stars alongside forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie and team up to see if they can get to the bottom of these cases, leaving no stone unturned.

We caught up with Derrick this week to discuss his career and transformation from a young police officer in Rhode Island to where he finds himself today. We also talk about his new book, The Undercover Edge: Find Your Hidden Strengths, Learn to Adapt, and Build the Confidence to Win Life’s Game.

The Investigation Discovery’s show’s popularity has not been overlooked by mainstream media, recently catching interest on the Today show with Megyn Kelly.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Are Levasseur and Mohandie the consummate professionals that they claim to be? Absolutely not! We’re glad to report that the duo actually find time to have some fun on the job. Below Derrick gives us a glimpse of his career and some shenanigans that take place behind the camera as well as what’s next for the show.

At only 20 yrs old, you were hired as a police officer, one of the youngest officers in Central Falls, Rhode Island. You ended up being a highly decorated officer. What initially motivated you to go in to law enforcement and what accomplishments did you achieve as an officer?

To be honest, I didn’t initially know what I wanted to do as a career. I was playing baseball in college and was getting my degree in criminal justice because I knew I could go down a few different career paths after graduating.

After finishing my sophomore year, I was home for the summer and took a local police test just to see what it was like. I ended up finishing first out of a couple hundred applicants so the chief offered me the job. I was broke, knew I wanted to help people, and also knew I could go back to school if I didn’t like what I was doing—so I took the job.

I received a few awards as a cop but honestly—the most rewarding feeling is seeing the look of relief on someone’s face when they’ve been calling for help because they’re in fear of someone or something and then you walk through the door. The only way to truly understand what I’m talking about is to experience it for yourself.

Between working in law enforcement, your success on Big Brother, and now your accomplishments with the ID Network, can you walk us through your career a little bit and tell us how one thing lead to the other?

It was a natural evolution. I became a police officer at a very young age and had the opportunity to experience some things that officers never get the chance to do. I was 23 years old working as a undercover detective while also receiving training in interview and interrogation techniques.

That knowledge and experience really helped me when I decided to apply for my favorite show, Big Brother. I was fortunate enough to get on the show and use my undercover background to my advantage and ultimately win the game.

The plan was to go back home and keep doing what I had been doing before the show—which I did. But I had an agent reach out to me about the possibility of combining my passion for law enforcement with television and ID was a great fit. I’m really happy with the relationship we have.

Dr. Kris Mohandie, forensic psychologist, is also quite accomplished himself. What have you learned from Kris while working side-by-side with him on the show?

Kris is great. He really is one of the smartest people I know. He’s taught me a lot about the psychology behind why people commit crimes and it’s changed how I approach the cases we work on. Kris is also very inspiring with his work ethic. He’s up at five in the morning, hitting the gym, he arrives on set ready to go, and in between filming he’s on his phone or laptop working on his other cases. It definitely makes me push myself to work harder in all facets of my life.

Of all of the cases that you’ve worked on while filming Breaking Homicide, what was the most challenging for you, personally?

The case of Michelle Norris, which happened in my hometown, was very complex for me personally. There was obviously the case itself that we were looking into, but also the juggling of two different objectives. I retired from the police department in order to work this case so I had to constantly balance getting answers for Michelle’s family, while also working with and reviewing the work of my former colleagues. In the end, I think we were able to accomplish what we went there to do while also being respectful to all parties involved.

You have a new book out, The Undercover Edge: Find Your Hidden Strengths, Learn to Adapt, and Build the Confidence to Win Life’s Game. How did that book come about?

The Undercover Edge is not just a series of “tactics” or “techniques,” it’s an approach derived from my personal encounters in life and my professional experiences as an detective and a sergeant. I have had a lot of success using this approach and I wanted to prove to myself that it could work in any environment. That’s why I went on the show “Big Brother.” In a way, “Big Brother” is a microcosm of our society. We’re a melting pot of different races, ages, and religions and sometimes you don’t get to choose who you’re surrounded by. “Big Brother” wasn’t just about winning a game. It was proof of concept.

The people who are able to adapt to their environment and build productive relationships, no matter who they’re dealing with, will be the most successful at work and in life. I knew that people could really benefit from this approach if they made it part of their daily routine, so I decided to write a book about it. It was also a personal challenge for me to test my ability to articulate how I communicate and conduct myself. The fact that the book will be around long after i’m gone is pretty cool too.

What does the future hold for both you and Breaking Homicide?

It’s up in the air right now. The response to the show was very positive and the ratings, which are part of television regardless of what type of show you are doing, were really good.

We have received hundreds of requests from families to look into their cases and we would love the opportunity to do so. We’ll have to wait and see what Discovery ID decides to do but we’re in constant communication with them and we’re very optimistic about the future. We hope ‘Breaking Homicide’ is around for a long time.

Both you and Kris seem to have a great sense of humor – what is your funniest or favorite moment that went on behind the scenes that fans didn’t get to see?

There was a lot of great moments. I’ll tell you this—we work long days and sometimes while the camera crew is setting up, Kris or myself would sit down and “rest our eyes” in a chair or on a couch. Let’s just say that there’s a few selfies of us were the other person may not be looking their best. I’ve receive a few text messages from Kris weeks after filming a case that I had no idea were taken… haha!

Here’s looking forward to a new season of Breaking Homicide and we’ll keep you posted as to what’s next for the show.

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