Monday, January 01, 2007


I don't watch police shows on the TeeVee, because I always wind up throwing things at the set. Most of the things that TeeVee cops do just flat give me a romping case of heartburn, and since I wind up shrieking stuff like, "Show me the Probable Cause!" during the wind-up phase of the object-flinging other folks in my household don't watch crime shows, either.

Howsomever, during my illness, I was forced to watch TeeVee -- which is one vast wasteland, I'm here to tell you -- and as a result, I have become slightly addicted to the show CSI.

The one based in Las Vegas, not the other two -- although the blonde lady in the Miami one really needs to immigrate to Las Vegas.

Where was I?

Oh, right. CSI.

It might be the drugs, but I actually wound up sitting through several CSI marathons on Spike.

I think the fact that CSI is really a science-fiction show with a loose connection to actual crime-solving is probably what allows me to watch it without launching various and sundries in the direction of the TeeVee.

If you really want to have a bit of fun, walk into your local crime lab with an eyelash inside a sandwich baggie, and tell the techs that you need DNA tests run on it.

Then, when they're giving you the Olde Hairy Eyeball, mention that Grissom would have the results back before the end of the shift.

You will get your vocabulary expanded, trust me on this one. You might want to have your running shoes on, too.


The reason that I can actually watch this show, is also one of the reason why the local prosecutors hate it so much.

There is something that they refer to as "CSI Syndrome" or "CSI Effect": jurors expect to see the whole CSI dog-and-pony show during the trial.

Unfortunately, some of the CSI dog-and-pony show just ain't so -- but the jury doesn't care. Jurors want to know why the cops didn't test
everything for DNA. They don't want to hear about the six week wait for DNA results -- if the lab isn't backed up.

On CSI the science is infallible. In Real Life -- not so much.

CSI techies have machines that can sniff an article of clothing and identify the name of the cologne on it. To the best of my knowledge there ain't no such machine.

I've been told that in some areas, potential jurors are being asked if they watch CSI -- and being excused if they do.

On the other paw, CSI seems to be responsible for a bumper crop of Eager Young Things wanting to get involved in the Crime Scene side of Law Enforcement -- and that's a Good Thing any way you look at it.

The show is fun to watch, too.



Anonymous said...

Yup. William Peterson muttering witty one-liners while Marg Helgenberger walks around in hot pants is the formula for good tee-vee.

I'm also interested in what kind of gun registration program Nevada has that they can always track down the owner of the gun by quarter-to.

garys said...

For much the same reasons, I never watch medical shows on TV. Except for Scrubs, which for some reason is far more believable than ER, Third Watch, House, or any other shows the names of which I can't be bothered to remember.

Although attractive women walking around in skimpy outfits is a good reason for watching almost any show.


Anonymous said...

I don't watch the 'cop' shows, except for 'Bones'. I do, however, watch 'House', as much because Greg House is my long lost twin and I seem to come up with the final diagnosis and effective treatment at the bottom of the hour, a full 25 minutes before the show does. SWMBO hates it when I do that.

Oh, Happy New Year, BTW...although it was really 10/31.


Anonymous said...

I also like the fact that the techies are really multi-talented. After confirming with mass spectrometry that the butler definately did it, they drop their lab clothes and proceed to kick down doors and securing the butler's apartment so that SWAT can come in.
And no lab I've ever worked in had that kind of ladies in it, either. Sure, there might be a gem or two in there, but generally speaking the view tends to be a bit depressing.

Anonymous said...

I like House myself; he's the inner me.

Could never get interested in Law & Order, nor CSI.

I have noticed, however, that Glenn Beck seems to be popping up in the most interesting places (not so much).


Ross said...

My wife is somewhat addicted to crime shows, and it truly annoys her no end when I criticize the gun handling on those shows. The best one was when I burst out laughing as Jack Bauer racked the slide of the semi-automatic he'd been threatening the cute gun-runner with and nothing came out. SWMBO looked at me with "WTF?" in her eyes as I explained that the lack of a cartridge coming out meant that he'd been threatening a gun-runner with an unloaded gun...

But I do agree with you on the Eager Young Things - my nephew's very cute fiancee is getting her degree in forensic science.

Anonymous said...

Darling hubby is the same way with shows like Law and Order in terms of yelling at the screen. Then again, he is the son of a retired state police officer.

He's a little better with the CSI shows and Numbers

Anonymous said...

At least CSI gives the impression police have a human side, with problems and foibles, as opposed to the "Joe Friday - Stone statue moving" school of TV police. OK, the tall guy on CSI Miami is the exception.

Who needs to get out more, I like NCIS and I'm being seduced by Veronica Mars.

Anonymous said...

BTW NCIS does have female agents that good looking.

Who works for the Kill People and Break Things Department.

kateykakes said...

I am a former "CSI" addict, but I actually prefer "Forsenic Files" on Court TV. It's real and IMO, much more entertaining.

Hope you're feeling better, LD, and I hope you have a wonderful and healthy 2007.

Anonymous said...

Having worked in engineering R&D, dependent on laboratory services to let me know what I had accomplished; I find the same-day-service to be the most unrealistic part. I figure the technology will catch up with the fiction but the lab backlog never will.

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate enough to have visited the set of CSI. I was told a lot of manufacturers donate the latest equipment so they can get it prominantly featured on the show, hence all the really cool gagets most places could only dream about. Also, I got to talk to their on-set expert (former cop with heavy forensics background) who told me that as an adviser he does the best he can but the bottom line is that it's fiction and the story is what's important, meaning the science often gets sidelined.


The Raving Prophet said...

I love how they pull a bullet out of a victim and immediately announce the make and model of the firearm.

My white rump.

I also like how being poorly lit is apparently a mandated feature for crime scene labs. God forbid something falls off the desk; they'll never find it on the floor.

Not too bad just to watch though.

Anonymous said...

While I enjoy the show, its more fun to watch it with my dad (a retired officer who did some work in crime lab section for a while). He's torn between enjoyment... and utter disbelief. Women in Crime Labs? He's known some of the best. Who wear 4 inch heeled boots and miniskirts while examining a body? Ahh..... not so much.

Well. One tried in the high heels, (got called in from a party) but after falling face first into a corpse she decided a pair of keds was a better option.

Anonymous said...

Now LawDog, you must still be sick if you are wantin' Emily Proctor to move to LV instead of comin' to work for YOUR dept!
All that balistics knowledge and easy on the eyes to boot! Sounds like your dream woman!
Personally I would like to see an all female CSI: Marg,from LV; Emily and Khandi from Miami; and Melina from NY; locate it in Houston and I'd be a Happy Camper!

Anonymous said...

hey Lawdog - when do we get the rest of the pink gorilla story? I googled up a source for "alternative uniform moments", so your present employer would have this valuable tool available to them as an arrestee management technique...

BobG said...

I have to admit I enjoy watching shows like CSI, but I have no illusions about their accuracy. I used to enjoy watching westerns, also, but we all know how much of that was invented by moviemakers.
It would be nice to see it a little bit more realistic, however.

Anonymous said...

We used to be big fans of CSI until they seriously jumped the shark with the gun and the balloon senario. After that everything went down the tubes.

Anonymous said...

The only good thing about CSI is:

Marg Helgenberger

I'd drag it through 50' of broken glass to get up on her!

Anonymous said...

I recently had a prosecutor continue a case against a client with a simple gun possession charge, while waiting results of DNA testing. Gun was recovered in back seat of car, in a brown paper bag, three people in car, all three say it was my client's gun. I asked why DNA test on simple gun possession with admission of possession, and was told it was because of the CSI effect. Jurors insist on that kind of testing.

BTW, results came back showing DNA from other two on gun, but not my client's, so the charges were dropped.

Anonymous said...

CSI- I'm a second generation cop and let me tell you my old man would have monkey stomped any Lab weenie who decided they needed to interfere with his case the way these bozos do.
As for other cops shows on TV I generally watch NCIS and my DVDs of Adam-12 and Crime Story.

Anonymous said...

I find it totally addicting. The black lady who pets the corpse's heads in Miami creeps me out though.

Presumably, everything in the show exists. There are 2 big problems: Does it really work that well, and more importantly BUDGET! I laugh each time I see some non-suspicious (or somewhat sadly the prostitute/drug dealer deaths that don't raise many ripples to push investigation) death being run through hundreds of thousands, if not millions worth of tests just to be sure, thus finding a criminal.

Anonymous said...

you must be gravely ill to be watching CSI for the "science" instead of for the fembots.

I hope you get well soon.

Anonymous said...

Pass the word:

Semper Fi'
Sic Semper Tyrannis

Matt G said...

About 4 years ago, while bored to death on a rainy Sunday night on patrol with all of my close patols done, I typed on the patrol laptop while surfing Jump The Shark.

At the CSI link,I typed the following, which I just found is still posted: This show's biggest jump is the complete omnipotence of the CSI investigators. They constantly verbally remind us that they're not cops. Yet they canvas the neighborhoods of the victims, interview the suspects as the stations... Hey! WHERE ARE THE *DETECTIVES* in Las Vegas? We see ONE old detective that just says, "Okay, Grissom!" CSI investigators are telling uniformed cops what to do all the time. "Officer, guard that doorway!"..."Officer, arrest this man!" Um, as a cop, I can tell you that there are *2* people that can tell me to arrest someone without a warrant: my Chief, or a judge (who can issue warrants). We cops do respect CSI's because they do their job well, but let me tell you, NONE of us takes orders from them, esp about arrests. Some departments have CSI's that are also sworn officers. I'm not sure what the heck these guys are, but they're treated like UberCops. Sorta like McGarrett (Jack Lord) on 5-0. He picked up his radio and said,"Central, patch me through to...". Or he'd interview someone who would say, "Yes, I recognize you," and he'd get whatever he wanted. Celebrity, baby!

Matt G said...

Oh, and dear CSI directors: TURN ON THE LIGHTS! We've got searches for evidence going on completely by handheld flashlights, with house lights left turned off.

Also, what's the poing of a light table to look at an opaque item? In a dark room, no less???

You'll get a fine view of the outline of the item, I guess.

--Matt G

Anonymous said...

They're hinting in the previews that Petersen may leave. If true, so do I (leave).

BTW, if you like Petersen, rent "Manhunter". Red Dragon is but a pale shadow of its predecessor...


markm said...

"Does it really work that well, and more importantly BUDGET!"

It certainly doesn't work that fast. Heck, there have been people that sat in jail for weeks before the lab report came back identifying that suspicious white powder as just plain sugar. And same day DNA testing? Dream on...

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe no one has mentioned the aggravating and egregious use of infinite resolution e-cameras (and sound, but I digress) on these shws

Everyone has a digital camera these days, right?

Most (I'd be willling to bet 99+%, and 100% of anything at the 7-11) surveillance cam's have a resolution about as low as the lowest setting on your cam. AND they are recording onto tired and old media, usually

I don't care HOW good your post processing software is, there is NO WAY you can ZOOM 1400x electronically and see the guy in the back ground, three blocks away in a driving rain storm is wearing a super bowl ring. - Or expand up the reflection in someone's eye (with correction for fish eye effect, no less) to see what was behind the camera (CSI- Miami, take a bow)

Cameras, film or flectronic have a limited resolution, if you zoom past that, or expand 4 pixels you do not get more detail, you get noise.


There ARE cameras's with quasi "magical" resolution levels but the cost would beggar 3rd world nations. Ramachandran & Amy at the 7-11 did not install one.

Anonymous said...

If my wife wants to watch one of those show then she or I go into the other room. Otherwise, we wouldn't have any TV's in the house!