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10 Forensic Techniques Done Badly on TV


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Futuristic Technology is the Norm
The cast of "Bones," and most other CSI shows, have unlimited resources and access to futuristic technology.
The cast of "Bones," and most other CSI shows, have unlimited resources and access to futuristic technology.
Fox Broadcasting Co.

In watching "CSI," one might think that this realm of law enforcement has access to the most advanced technology available. In "About Face," for instance, one of the investigators plays with software that, according to the actor describing it, takes surveillance video and analyzes it for characteristics such as facial expressions to determine whether the person is shy, anxious or even deceptive [source: cbs.com]. In "Appendicitement," one of the lab workers pulls out a handheld device that instantaneously pulls up a suspected criminal's photo along with his entire rap sheet [source: tv.com]. The reality is far different, which is not to say that the technology used in police departments -- which, remember, would likely not be touched by anyone doing CSI -- isn't powerful. But it isn't graphics intensive and interconnected, meaning that databases with, say, fingerprint information would not be tied to one with photographs and mugshots [source: Novak].

"Computer systems that many police have that store a lot of information are 20 years old," says Novak. "I'm intimately familiar with police departments that have DOS-based or mainframe based , not Windows. They're interested in data, not photos or fancy things."

Speaking of fancy things, keep reading to see why "CSI: Miami's" David Caruso is the only CSI investigator driving a Hummer.


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