05 February 2009


an article in today's NYTimes online confirmed what i've thought all along -- that the popular copycat criminal forsenics shows on tv (CSI, criminal minds, numbers, NCIS, cold case, even the ghost whisperer) are a farce. it is absurd to think that any single investigator, or even team of investigators, would be as omniscient and astute as these heroes are portrayed, pulling off weekly miracles of connecting the dots. this premise should be appalling and offensive to any intelligent mind.

how likely is it that such brilliant minds would enter police forsenics in the first place? not the most lucrative or prestigious or influential of fields, when there are plenty of private companies and universities where meaningful research and the possibility of getting one's findings published provide a more realistic lure for those with skill and talent. the peter principle holds true here, as elsewhere -- people tend to rise to the level of their own incompetence. if one's level is low to begin with, then one has to settle for lesser opportunities. like maybe, working for law enforcement or the military?

i am frankly BORED by the forsenics fad on tv. these things go in cycles. remember when the fad was westerns and comedy, in the 50s and 60s? i can't think of a single western being broadcast today. with any luck at all, within a few years it will take a crime scene investigator to find any forsenics shows on tv. even if there were, it would be a coin toss whether this so-called "scientist" could locate it, even if equipped with a map, a schedule and a crack team of specialists.

the unspoken tragedy in all this is that in the real world, as the NYTimes article indicates, innocent people are found guilty and incarcerated for years, based on faulty evidence produced by ill-equipped, ill-trained and often frankly incompetent police investigators. thomas jefferson said it best: far better that ten guilty men go free, than that one innocent man be sent to prison.

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