Santa Clarita resident Jennifer Marshall wears many hats. She’s a Navy veteran, an actress and a recently licensed private investigator.
It’s the latter two that brought her to her new TV series, “Mysteries Decoded,” which merges those two aspects of her life.
“Mysteries Decoded” is a documentary series premiering soon on The CW that investigates some of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries, from Area 51 and the Roswell UFO incident to Lizzie Borden and the Montauk Project, which “Stranger Things” was based on.
“We’re looking at a historical investigation every single episode, and we get to go look at things that have perplexed the average American,” Marshall added.
Over the course of an hour-long episode, Marshall uses newly discovered evidence and high-tech tools to reopen each cold case, which requires hours of research and investigative work prior to shooting.
“It’s so many people researching, working together,” she said. “It’s great because it’s really a collaborative process … The research team does a lot of work behind the scenes to get us to the point where we’re at, and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”
The team begins by looking at primary sources that existed during the topic’s time period, then delves deeper into the nitty gritty.
“We talk to experts, we talk to authors, we bring some science into it — that’s what I really like about the show, we tackle it from a bunch of different angles,” she said. “In every show, we seek out alternative paths, but we also go back to the science and hard evidence — the things that every investigator really thrives on.”
Marshall also has a different co-host for each episode who is an expert in that particular field, including a practicing witch for the Salem witch trials episode.
“Whatever we’re investigating, they have a passion for it and it’s something that is near and dear to them,” she said. “We both bring different things to the investigation, and most of my co-hosts are able to give me the bird’s-eye view into their world, which is intriguing.”
Though the research is primarily done in the office, Marshall is also able to visit unique locations for various episodes, such as getting clearance to go on a Navy base with an indoor simulated ocean for the Bermuda Triangle episode.
“I think it adds a really important dimension to the investigation, because it’s taking something the average person doesn’t have access to and it’s making it accessible,” she said.
But Marshall said the best part of the show is getting to shoot on location.
“There’s something to be said about being on the ground … being where something actually happened,” she added.
Yet, the best part for her, personally, is the chance to investigate these legendary mysteries.
“I would never have this opportunity in my PI life,” she said. “I love to do private investigation. I feel like it’s helping people, it’s making a difference. (The show) is really just matching the two loves in my life.”
When Marshall moved to California, she originally wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, but after getting injured in the police academy, she needed to find another avenue to help people.
She was accepted to private investigation school in 2014, and recently graduated with a master’s degree in administration of justice.
“It took me five years to get my master’s — it didn’t happen overnight,” Marshall added. “I did it in between adoptions, I did it in between (raising) my children, but I got it done … it was absolutely worth it.”
Now, she has finally gotten her private investigator license, which takes 6,000 hours in California, and has opened her own firm, Deep Source Investigations.
“I hope that someone watching realizes that you can do whatever you want in your life,” Marshall added. “This is something I was interested in, but it was very difficult to become a private investigator … If you want to do something, just know that the only timeline is a self-imposed timeline.”
“Mysteries Decoded” is scheduled to premiere at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, on The CW. For more information on Jennifer Marshall, visit jennifermarshall.com.