William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Monday, 27, July, 2009

Forensics and Hollywood

Filed under: Forensics,Life, the universe, & everything. — williamthecoroner @ 12:43

When time was, before medicine ate my life, I did some acting. That was enjoyable. Now, I know where my talents lie, and they don’t lie on the stage. I have a cousin who works on Broadway, and though I admire his talent, I could not live with the amount of uncertainty in his life. I would, however, like to be a consultant for projects that have forensic or pathology themes. There are plenty of agencies that help lawyers find consultants, but I know very few folks that help writers or producers find consultants. I have a web presence (obviously, you’re reading this,) but I don’t know of a serious forensic path person who has been consulted by creative types.*

I don’t seem to be alone. Via TAM, tgace gives the top ten reasons he hates movies and TV I agree. I’ve posted Frank Shonberger’s reasons why CSI makes him scream before:

10. You cant get DNA results in an hour. (Spoken normally, almost warily)
9. Hummer H2s are not likely to be used as a crime scene vehicle.
8. Unlike the CSI who was able to quit her strip job after getting her CSI position, its rumored that some criminalists still have to strip for extra money.
7. DNA data and Drug data do not come off the same instrument.
6. It can take 40 people 6 months to do the work one CSI does in an hour.
5. Despite the fact that CSI solves 100% of the cases, the crime rate in Las Vegas doesn’t drop.
4. We have bright, buzzing fluorescent lights instead of sexy blue lighting.
3. Proper crime scene attire is Tyvek gowns and latex gloves, not leather pants and high heels. [pity WZB]
2. Not enough underwear [ditto, WZB]
1. YOU CANT GET DNA RESULTS IN AN HOUR!!!!!!! (Pound on desk and speak
through clenched teeth for effect!)
M. Frank Shonberger

Using the Three to Mao theory, I do have a friend who has some connections to show runners in Hollywood. This friend is helpful enough. The industry is odd enough (and the connections are loose enough) [come to think of it, MY screws are loose enough] that I doubt anything would come of it. Also, actual knowledge of a subject might get in the way of the storytelling, no matter how dumb it gets. Perhaps writers and producers don’t know what they don’t know.

*Actually, only one.


  1. Hey..Tgace here. Another thing that I always gripe about when I watch CSI is the “flashlight thing”. Every crime scene is some dark and gloomy setting where the hero has to look around with his/her handy little flashlight. Nobody turns on a light… Never enough daylight even though its high noon in Nevada.

    Comment by tgace — Monday, 27, July, 2009 @ 20:10 | Reply

  2. Just curious, how do you feel about the show Bones?

    Comment by Jenny — Monday, 27, July, 2009 @ 22:22 | Reply

    • I really can’t stand the books the show is based on. I’m told by mutual friends that the author is not the ditz she portrays herself as in the books in real life. She couldn’t be. The show has no relationship to the books whatsoever, and is even further divorced from reality. Emily Deshanel, however, IS all of that and a bag of chips, particularly when she’s dressed as a circus show girl. Eye candy is important. (And whats-his-name) is eye candy for the girls. Though, as she looks skinny on camera, in person she’s probably skeletal.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Monday, 27, July, 2009 @ 22:30

    • I always LOVE the total disregard for jurisdictional issues. What the hell is the “Jeffersonian” and why are they involved in a homicide in this town..that city…etc?

      Lt. of local detective bureau: “What agency do these “CSI’s” work for and why the hell are they here in my crime scene?!?!?”

      Comment by tgace — Tuesday, 28, July, 2009 @ 03:04

  3. You’re as pointed about CSI as I am/was about NCIS and JAG… They can’t deal with the reality of CSI anymore than they can the military, it would put people to sleepppp…zzzzz

    Comment by Old NFO — Monday, 27, July, 2009 @ 23:24 | Reply

    • Yeah. I confess, I like Belisairo’s stuff [NCIS, JAG, Quantum Leap]. The forensic science is totally wrong, and they ride roughshod over the constitution and laws, and all of that. But the equipment was cool (F-18s are fun), I rather like the portrayal of service people as heroes instead of incompetent losers, and Belisario likes a happy (if sappy) ending.

      The worst one was Crossing Jordan, with good actors, but I wasn’t allowed to watch it. You shoot one TV set, and you get a reputation for life, I mean really.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Tuesday, 28, July, 2009 @ 07:08

  4. Never could get into CSI. We do watch NCIS, almost religiously, though I love the Televsion Without Pity title for the show: “NCIS: Now with 100% less Navy!”

    My youngest (going into 6th grade next month) has decided she wants to be Abby. Even after I informed her that in real life what Abby does would be done by at least 6 different people and take a lot longer. There are far worse ambitions, especially since it means lots of math and science, so we’re cultivating this one.

    Comment by LibraryGryffon — Tuesday, 4, August, 2009 @ 10:28 | Reply

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