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TV CSI versus Real CSI

By: Hilary Rodela, Lead Digital Content Writer for Taction USA


We all know how the “CSI Effect” played a role in not only in peoples’ perceptions but also in how jurors hashed over cases. The impact as a whole brought about the importance of forensic science and physical evidence as it relates to a case. While this is a positive factor, there were many misconceptions that came with that stigma.


One was that latent fingerprints may be matched in seconds and the match is so solid it solves the case on it’s own. None of this is quiet accurate. While there have been cases that have revealed a killer via fingerprint, there were other contributing factors that helped solve the case; the fingerprint simply solidified other facts of the case. Another misconception is that physical evidence can always be the make or break. Again, not to diminish how important physical evidence truly is, it is not just that portion of the case that is the end all. (at least not the majority of the time) These shows also depict every crime scene having an enormous amount of useful evidence. We all know that even when we may collect numerous items at a crime scene, there are only a handful of items we actually send to the lab and that may make a difference in the case. However, it is always better to collect more than less since once we release that crime scene, we can’t go back.


One aspect of the CSI life these types of shows did depict well was how stressful it can be on a person. I will admit, I have watched and even enjoyed some of these shows even if they are not completely accurate to what it is really like on the job. The aspect they did get 100 percent right is that it is not an easy job. Cases will haunt, nightmares come and go, the defeat of the system gets to you. These shows also do accurately portray how important a CSI is. Though at times it can be an extremely physically and emotionally taxing job, in the end the purpose of the job is extremely important. You may be able to bring just for a family, or exonerate an innocent person, or at the very least show someone you care through your quality of work. They may not have gotten everything right on those shows, but they did get the human aspect spot on.


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