Television Inaccuracies In The Courtroom

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Some people enjoy jigsaw puzzles and other like logic puzzles, but for a select few, the real puzzles are ones made of blood, flesh, and bone. Since the expansion of media, forensic scientists have been faced with the problem of television inaccuracies and their psychological effects in the courtroom. This problem has arisen from flawed portrayals of evidence gathering and testing that have confused viewers as to the real capacity of forensics. While multiple attempts to resolve this issue and re-establish impartiality have been made, none have yet succeeded, leaving analysts to do their best to control the damage and face the possibility of that being all they can do. As shows like CSI and NCIS project distortions of forensic science that…show more content…
In an attempt to garner ratings by creating intrigue, television shows such as CSI exaggerate forensic scientists. A forensic scientist generally works within the realm of one or two areas in a lab (“Forensic Scientist” 1). A given analyst may only focus on ballistics or toxicology, maybe both. This is contrary to portrayals on shows like NCIS where scientists like Abby Sciuto do lab work in nearly every area needed, from blood testing to facial reconstructions. Along with misrepresenting the scientists, writers also often fudge the truths of forensic science in order to make them fit plotlines..Perfectly timed discoveries found with techniques that someone miraculously remembers or invents are all too common plot devices. In reality, these techniques are, “wildly exaggerated or even non-existent” (Mancini 543-564). This makes it difficult for viewers to distinguish between fact and fiction, which would have little significance if it only impacted a small viewership. However, society seems to be enthralled with the pursuit of criminals, meaning that it breaks to a large audience. According to Entertainment Weekly, in 2007 CSI held top ratings for four weeks in a row, beating out baseball playoffs and Dancing with the Stars, both television hits (“Csi” 57). These misconceptions are spread to a large audience, even by CSI alone, and therefore affect a great deal of the population.. These three factors combine to have a substantial effect on events and results of cases in legal

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