1.View one TV show on forensics or crime scene investigation and analyze the program.
2. Pick one aspect portrayed in the show, which in your opinion is an example of a valid forensic crime scene investigation, and another aspect of the show that is an example of how it is not a valid forensic crime scene investigation but instead portrayed more unrealistic and for the movies or Hollywood.
3. Explain why you chose your examples and why you feel it is a valid or not a valid forensic or crime scene investigation.
4. Include in your response, in your opinion, why shows of these genre are so popular and viewed by so many dedicated fans.
5. In your interpretation of the show, and your understanding of forensics, consider the Saint Leo core value of excellence and discuss how Hollywood’s treatment of the forensic and CSI fields may have a false standard of excellence for the view on the public.
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||6||Style||APA|
Analysis of The Mentalist
Television history has seen many shows/programs which have had their core focus on the realms of crime and law enforcement. Crime dramas which have been pegged on crime scene investigations and forensics have in recent times become very popular with the audience (Bull, 2015). Crime dramas have even attained new heights of popularity. For instance, based on the information from the Nielsen Media Research, crime dramas are among the top ten most watched television shows in the United States. However, according to Durnal (2010), law enforcement personnel and prosecutors have held the belief that crime dramas influence the American jurors to expect more forensic evidence for the conviction of defendants of crime (crime scene investigation (CSI) effect). Although some of the aspects presented in TV crime dramas depict valid crime scene investigation and forensics, most of them are unrealistic. This paper provides an analysis of the TV show, The Mentalist, and examines aspects in the show which depict valid and invalid CSI aspects.
Analysis of the TV Show
The TV show on CSI chosen for analysis is The Mentalist. Notably, The Mentalist is an American drama TV series which aired on CBS in the years between 2008 and 2015. The series, which runs for over seven seasons, presents Patrick Jane, a crime consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), but formerly a well-known “psychic” and fraudster (Netflix, 2018). Jane becomes part of a team of CBI agents with the sole aim of tracking down a serial killer, Red John, suspected to be involved in the murder of Jane’s wife and daughter. Although Jane is not a career officer of the law, he has been presented as an individual with superb skills in solving murder cases. Although the CBI agents use legal methods in crime scene investigation, Jane does not apply any book methods, but relies on his mediocre intelligence (Netflix, 2018). Throughout the seven seasons of the series, various murders cases are investigated with the main one being that of Red John. It is only in season six that Red John’s case is solved with the FBI stepping in and playing a pivotal role.
Valid Forensic Crime Scene Investigation Aspect in the Show
Valid forensic crime scene investigation involves taking various steps and measures to ensure that important pieces of evidence are not contaminated or lost. One of the first steps is arriving at the scene and prioritizing the efforts to ensure minimal contamination and disturbance of the physical evidence (Ribaux et al., 2010). The second step is preliminary documenting and evaluating the scene followed with processing the scene. Afterward, the crime scene being investigated is recorded and information used for further investigations and analysis. In the TV series, The Mentality, one of the aspects which depicts a valid forensic crime scene investigation during the investigation for the murder of Eleanor Ortega who was shot in the chest is initial response and documentation (Netflix, 2018). In specific, the CBI agents arrive at the scene, cordon it off from the gathered onlookers and try to get as much information as possible on the victim.
The reason for the choice of this crime scene investigation as the most valid one was based on various reasons. One of these is that the CBI agents secured the crime scene and thus preserved the scene with minimal contamination and disturbance of the physical evidence. Additionally, in this crime scene, the CBI agents promptly, albeit cautiously, approached the crime scene, observed the onlookers, potential evidence, and environmental conditions (Netflix, 2018). In addition, they interviewed the onlookers with the sole aim of having an in-depth assessment of the crime scene. Moreover, the investigating officers maintained the crime scene integrity by prohibiting entry and exit of any unauthorized persons to the scene. Based on the examination of the CBI agent’s actions, they conducted a valid crime scene investigation as the information from the crime scene was documented using not only photography, but also videos, sketches, and measurements. Moreover, the agents made notes which were key in the analysis and documentation of key information from the crime scene.
Invalid Forensic Crime Scene Investigation in the Show
In most television dramas, The Mentalist being no exception, crime scene investigators collect and analyze evidence, interview suspects, and even solve crime with so much ease and in a very short period which is unrealistic (Ribaux et al., 2010). Various aspects in The Mentalist show examples of how they are not valid crime scene investigations, but rather unreal and only suitable for the movies. One of those is the investigation into the murder of a prominent architect in season 2 episode five, especially on collecting evidence and interviewing suspects. In specific, Jane and the other CBI agent are called into the investigation of the death of a prominent architect who was found cuddled in an old mansion (Netflix, 2018). When the investigators jet in, they have to interview various suspects with the aim of narrowing down to the person who could be charged with the atrocity. However, the aspects are not a valid forensic crime scene investigations as the agents do not bother to document the evidence and examine every aspect of the murder.
The choice of this aspects as an example of an invalid forensic crime scene investigation only suitable for the movies is the time taken to solve murder as well as the efficiency in which investigation is conducted. The agents spend only a few days in investigating the murder and accessing and interviewing the suspects who could have been involved in the murder. Such a short time is unrealistic considering that criminal investigations take a lot of time in real life situation (Pepper, 2010). Additionally, the investigators are very efficient and do not make any mistakes but rather only zeroes in on the real suspects. However, in real crime scene investigations, errors are made. Moreover, the investigators do not seem to live within the time and funding constraints which are placed on actual forensic scientists and investigators making the aspect invalid/unrealistic and only possible in the movies.
Why Shows of These Genre Are So Popular
In the recent past, crime genres have gained increased popularity among the audience. As such, crime shows and programs are viewed by so many dedicated fans. In my opinion, one of the reasons as to why the shows of crime genre such as The Mentalist are so popular is the fascination of the public with serial killers. In specific, people are tantalized by serial killers in the same way as they are about by traffic accidents. Additionally, people will also receive the adrenaline hormone from watching crime shows which then makes them addicted to such shows. Additionally, they seek to make a comparison between the manners in which the crimes are solved in the television shows with how they are done in reality.
How Hollywood’s Treatment of the Forensic and CSI Fields May Have a False Standard of Excellence
Saint Leo University has excellence as one of their core values. In specific, as an educational enterprise, the institution seeks to ensure that it develops the characters and skills of students and hence the success of the organization. Excellence is based on the attainment of the vision and mission as well as the goals of individuals and organizations. However, the manner in which Hollywood films have treated the forensic and CSI fields demonstrates a false standard of excellence for the view of the public. In specific, Hollywood depicts CSI and forensics fields as ideal with characters having no time and financial constraints in their work. Additionally, they complete their investigations with so much efficiency which is not possible in reality and hence, depicting false excellence.
In conclusion, crime TV shows have gained so much popularity with so many dedicated fans. However, crime programs have a CSI effect as they involve many invalid aspects of crime scene investigations. In the TV show, The Mentality, one aspect which demonstrates a valid CSI is that where characters follow the steps of CSI, especially in investigating the crime scene, collecting evidence, analyzing it and solving the crimes. However, the time and efficiency of the investigators are only real in the movies. The crime genre shows are so popular because they fascinate the audience. However, they have a false standard of excellence as they portray high standards of efficiency which is unrealistic.
Bull, S. (2015). Televisual forensics on the edge of chaos: postgenomic complexity in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Screen, 56(1), 64-80.