With producing reality shows comes producing inaccuracies in portrayals in order to reach as many viewers and gain as high ratings as possible every week with each new episode. Every day life is boring, yet people tend to be attracted to the relatable shows that portray real life in eccentric ways – ways that they believe could be imitated by the average person. In many cases, these shows could remain harmless, as it is entertainment. No matter how crude or erroneous, it is just television. However, what happens when these sources of amusement actually start being damaging? Research has shown that crime shows like the ever popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation have started becoming significantly detrimental to criminal cases, influencing a juror's perception of what should realistically be going on with acquittal rates and wrongful convictions, but researchers have also started to find a rising fault in the prosecution, using this false perception to their advantage.
In the following literature review, scholarly and peer-reviewed journals, articles from popular news media, and surveys have been synthesized to contribute to the conversation pertaining to forensics in pop culture in the courtroom and the overall criminal justice system. This conversation has become a growing topic of interest over just the past few years since these crime shows started appearing on the air. The rising popularity of this genre makes this research even more relevant to study to try to bring back justice in the courtroom.
Forensics in Pop Culture.
What exactly are these shows that are causing so much controversy in the criminal justice and forensic science fields? The more well known CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, reeling in almost 60 million views a week (Cole & Dioso-Villa 1), and all its spin offs including CSI: Miami and CSI: New York, as well as video games emulating episodes, but also rising in the ranks include Bones, Castle, Criminal Minds, The First 48, Forensic Files, Law and Order, and many more. There is even an interactive exhibit known as “CSI: The Experience” in Orlando, Florida where people can pay to try out their investigative skills in crime scenes and laboratories similar to ones that real forensic specialists use.
If you search through your television guide, you will see at least three of these shows on at the same time on different channels, many even having all-day marathons for you to enjoy on Saturday morning. Simon Cole and Rachel Dioso-Villa have analyzed that many of these fictitious programs attempt to make science “sexy,” which may be the reason why we are so attracted to them. The scientists look stylish at all times; wearing nice suits or dresses out on the field or in the laboratory, having normal work days, finding everything they need, having all of the state-of-the-art equipment and staff they need, and more importantly, they get everything done quickly and effectively. This glamorous, action-packed lifestyle...