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 tables.

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 solving.

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 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 evidence.

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 entertainment.

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The CSI  Phenomenon
Police Shows
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
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
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 comedy-drama).
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Copyright © 2021  Barry M. Baker