Crime scene investigators under the glass

So … I was looking through PBS’s website the other day and I came upon this Frontline episode that was broadcast in April 2012 and shown on KACV-TV.

It dealt with crime scene investigations.

How real are the depictions shown on television, on all those “CSI” programs? Not very, according to the Frontline special. Of course, that shouldn’t surprise anyone, given the, um, “artistic license” that Hollywood uses as it tells stories that are supposed to be based somewhat on fact.

Frontline’s program tells how forensic science — once thought to be virtually infallible — is become more, well, fallible. We hear that the age-old theory that “no two people have the same fingerprints” might be proven wrong.

I’ve had a tiny bit of exposure to the world of forensic evidence-gathering. I once attended an Amarillo Police Department Citizens Academy and one of the elements we were shown dealt with APD’s forensic lab and the techniques used to gather evidence in crime-solving. One of the first words out of the instructor’s mouth was that what APD does bears little — if any — resemblance to the whiz-bang techniques portrayed on any of the “CSI” programs.

This is the kind of story that Frontline tells better than virtually any other television program. It does so with balance and depth.

Take a look at the link attached to this blog. It’s lengthy, but well worth your time. The best news yet? Frontline is getting ready for another season on public television. More of this kind of programming is coming to the Panhandle.


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