Science and technology is advancing at lightening
speed, so it's no surprise that police television
shows and movies have taken advantage of these
advances to enhance their story plot lines and
aesthetics.  It wasn't that long ago when police
dramas got by with the inference of death and
suffering without depicting bloodied and broken
bodies.  Today, it's now common to watch blood
gushing and splattering, and doctors slicing and
dicing realistic looking cadavers on the autopsy

While the special effects have become incredibly
realistic, it's the science that will continue to impact
your police career.  The CSI television series has
spawn a new genre of shows that use science to
collect and examine physical evidence creating a
whole new way people now look at police and crime

Imagine a jury deliberating one of your cases.  The
case is pretty straight forward.  You apprehended
an armed robber moments after he robbed a man
at a bus stop.  You observed the suspect running
away from the bus stop; you gave chase and
caught up to him two blocks away.  You recovered
the knife he used to threaten the victim, and you
find the victim's wallet in the suspect's coat pocket.  
Along with the victim's positive identification of the
suspect, your case is complete.  However, a couple
of the jurors aren't satisfied with the absence of
scientific evidence presented at trial.  One juror
points out that the suspect allegedly grabbed the
victim by the arm during the robbery.  He goes on
to explain that the victim's coat was never collected
as evidence, so the sleeve of the coat was never
tested for the presence of epithelials which could
have been DNA tested to positively link the suspect
to the crime.
Page 3
Police Shows
Police Television Shows
Past and Present
Page 3
by Barry M. Baker
When I watch a police show heavy with scientific
crime solving, I'm always amazed by the amount of
time and resources available to the TV cops.  But,
it's television!  While a scientific investigative
technique can provide the critical piece, or pieces, of
evidence in a crime, it's not always required to
establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  In the
scenario I described, the possible presence of
epithelials on the victim's coat from the suspect
would have only been a small, but expensive,
addition to the already overwhelming amount of

Prosecutors and police officers all over the country
have been impacted negatively by the CSI (crime
scene investigation) shows.  When you become a
police officer, you'll be confronted with all the real
obstacles that TV writers have the luxury to ignore
or manipulate to develop a high level of

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Copyright © 2018  Barry M. Baker  
The CSI  Phenomenon
TV Shows
Cops (stylized as COPS) is an American documentary /
reality legal series that follows police officers, constables,
sheriff's deputies, federal agents and state troopers during
patrols and other police activities including prostitution and
narcotics stings. It is one of the longest-running television
programs in the United States and, as of May 2011, the
longest-running show on Fox, following the cancellation of
America's Most Wanted after 23 years.
This is a list of police television programs. Dramas
involving police procedural work, and private detectives,
secret agents, and the justice system have been a
mainstay of broadcast television since the early days of
broadcasting. Shows that are not dramatic programming
are indicated (e.g. reality television, comedy or