What If Forensic Science Could Really Do What Movies Think?

Forensic science shows are so popular that the CSI guys have a map of America, instead of script writers. Every few years they will pick a new city, and then it’s only a matter of time until we have CSI: Gun Barrel City — which exists, and is in Texas (check Google Maps if you don’t believe us), and would totally suit the series. For some reason people love to sit down and enjoy tales of brutal murder and watch hard-bitten alcoholics be disgusted by them.

It’s probably a good idea not to think about people enjoying that too much, however.

The real problem is that these fictional characters live in a world with incredible super-technology and the best thing they can think to do with it is murder each other. The CSI crew have computers which would make the Starship Enterprise jealous, and medical technology which would leave God asking “Hey, how did you do that?” That’s why we’re looking at the amazing forensic science technology from cop shows, and what it could really do.


The hardbitten crime lab has computers which could beat up HAL9000 and format Deep Thought for an encore. In between shouting about the new craze (that’s killing people) and trying to find the guy (also killing people), the staff will shout “Enhance!” at their magic compu-box and it’ll work wonders of forensic science. It’ll blow up a single blurred smudge on the screen to reveal the target’s face, fingerprints, and read his driver’s license through his jacket pocket. You could only get a miracle of forensic science like that if you travelled back in time to kill Jesus’ parents and built Gotham on top of Bethlehem.

The thing is, enhancement is impossible because there’s only one piece of information in a pixel. You can’t get any more out. If computers could extract a photofit picture from a single image, that would mean they could infinitely compress all the information in the world into one memory stick. You’d never need a hard drive, you could throw your old digital watch into the computer and it could store the entire Internet on it.

DNA Resurrection

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from police procedurals it’s that all serial killers are failed porn stars. They can’t so much as sprint through a car wash without leaving a trail of genetic material. At which point the tough tomboy girl (who’s also pretty) will take the chance to explain that yes, they mean semen. Those killers are fire-hosing the stuff like rogue chromosomal sprinklers. There have been thunderstorms which didn’t deluge soak their targets so badly.

The problem is that DNA needs to be protected from the world. Actually it’s not a problem, because that’s why we exist – to carry it around and let it reproduce. The CSI crew swab fully recognizable DNA from every surface in existence, days later after heat and dry-cleaning. That’s like working out a dinosaur’s favorite color from a single tooth. Their world shouldn’t have any murder mysteries, if they can resurrect such utterly shattered DNA it’s only one more step to just clone up the murder victim and ask them to point out the the killer. Though you still can’t arrest them, because at that point they’re less a murderer than a litterer for leaving the now-living victim’s previous body lying around like that.

Face Matching

Once they’ve got a picture of you, your time is up. Even though real forensic science is only the start of the chase because even when they have your face, that’s one face in almost seven billion. Most police work goes extremely un-televised and is along the lines of “the man might have been seen in this building with one thousand residents, so we’ll ask the first five hundred and you guys ask the others.” Justice is truly served by vast teamwork and relentless grinding, both of which work far better with accurate forensic science.

Similar Posts


  1. In today’s society, a vast majority of murder cases are not solved with forensics AT ALL. Because motive of a suspect and why a person is murdered can point directly in the direction of who did it.

    Then, psychological tricks can be used on a person already under stress from having killed. Again a vast majorty of person uilt. Psychopaths and Sociopaths can be taken down by other methods.

    But new methods are being developed all the time. And if you live in a big city, good luck getting away with anything in the near future.

    I live in Las Vegas, and my truck was stolen from my driveway about a year ago. I walked outside and it was just gone.
    As I had 5 Oh, on the phone, I gave them an approximate time (I’d only come home about 2 hours before), and the Make Model License plate. They called me back in 15 minutes, and told me where the truck was, and that it was currently empty near a vacant apartment building. They asked if they could “sit on it” to catch the perp. I said sure. They guy returned to the truck about 4 hours later (with heroin! on him) and the cops arrested him (btw, he was an illegal alien). In talking to the arresting officers (who were plainclothes, and IMO looked like gangbangers), the truck was found using those cameras on the traffic lights and computers that log every license plate that goes through them. When a vehicle is flagged the computers can pull the exact path a vehicle has taken and then give the street cops an approximate location. Then I also realized that they are working on this exact technology for faces. Was pretty trippy…

    THEN about two weeks later, a friend had his house broken into, and he suspected his former roommate, who had moved out about two months previous. The cops questioned him, who denied it, and then they arrested him, because he had his cell phone on him while breaking in, and they could put him at the scene, because of course your phone leaves a trail via GPS too.

    Moral of this story…Don’t be a criminal.

  2. Here’s a major problem we have now a days. A little background on myself first. I work for Law Enforcement, nuff said. I see in court some people are able to get away with some crimes because of the jury’s “Stupidness” mentality. A good number of people who watch these shows tend want to see the same kind of elaborate made up technology they see on T.V. And if they don’t see what’s on T.V. they believe the perp innocence or guilt based on what they exspect to see. And on top of that, people don’t understand how very costly and time consuming some tests can be. If you were to have your car/house broken into, most of the time the only thing an officer can do is take report. Unless there’s dead body or something of “Very Great” importance was taken or left, like codes to a nuke bomb, they won’t do finger prints. Some of us do wish we had the technology they protray on T.V. But in reality a lot of the stuff you see on T.V. in very unreal.

    On another note, The L.A. and New York Coroners office isn’t that clean and pretty as compared to T.V. and in Movies. Although Kudoos to San Bernardino’s County Coroners facility in Cali. Now thier facility looks like a movie set.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.