More than 30 million people watched CSI and its spinoffs during the 2010-2011 season.And while the show is entertaining to be sure, is it in any way real?
That answer, according to the experts, is a big fat no. And many of the inaccuracies in the show are pretty flagrant.
But don’t let us make up your mind. Take a look and decide for yourself.
One episode of CSI featured a suspect who used a radio frequency identification reader concealed in a woman's purse to scan credit card numbers and social security numbers.
But, according to RFID Journal, that's simply not possible.
'I understand that the folks who write TV dramas don't care about facts or reality, but this kind of nonsense creates unnecessary fear among the public,' Mark Roberti wrote for the journal's blog.
In CSI, one analyst might visit a crime scene to gather evidence, process it, and come to some brilliant conclusion.
But in the real world, there are far more checks and balances and the work is divvied up among many people.
'In a big department like New York there will be a group that just does firearms,' forensic scientist Roger Thompson told PoliceEmployment.com 'That's all they do is shoot guns and look at the fragments under a microscope.'
Separate groups will then handle the other parts of the investigation.
'Another myth perpetuated by virtually all cop shows is that a team of investigators can devote all of its time to a single case,' according to PoliceEmployment.com.
That kind of enviable staffing, where an entire squad of superstar investigators work on a case around the clock, just isn't feasible.
'With our chemists, for example, we probably see them working 80 to 100 to maybe 120 cases a month,' forensic scientist Roger Thompson told the website. 'They have to be able to multi-task.'
In CSI, the forensic analysts might be authorised to carry a gun and a badge and interrogate the bad guys.
But in real life, that's not often the case.
'Analysts are neutral,' forensic scientist Roger Thompson told PoliceEmployment.com 'We're supposed to be unbiased. But on CSI, they're in there interrogating suspects.'
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