Call me a pedant, but in the season 1 episode Friends and lovers, the friend of a victim says he has a spider bite, and when it's looked at Grissom remarks "That's no insect bite". Surely any forensic scientist (or 10 year old)knows a spider isn't an insect.
Well, they might not, or they might just not care enough. But Grissom is a bug expert, so that still counts.
Similar quibble: At the beginning of "Suckers", Grissom pulls the dummy from the pool, and remarks with surprise that "This is not a crime scene". But the initial report of the incident was that an electrical cable had fallen and killed someone, meaning it'd never been considered a crime scene in the first place, merely an accident scene.
On a similar note, in a season 2 episode Grissom confidently states that "the terminal velocity" for a falling human is 9.8 metres per second squared. Leaving aside the fact that he doesn't seem to know what "terminal velocity" means (it's "maximum possible velocity" not "velocity that would definitely be fatal")... that's not even a velocity, it's the rate of acceleration due to gravity.
How did the Miniature Killer get the car on Sara Sidle's arm?
She's seen in Dead Doll using some sort of crane.
And just how did the Miniature Killer find enough time to make those things? The raw level of detail in each one is crazy in and of itself, but the show seems to imply they were each done after the murders. Some parts, like the photographs, have to be custom done.
Seemed to me that she made them well beforehand, but had to tweak them, sometimes sloppily, after the murders. And was one delivered pre-murder? It's been a while.
Yes, one was delivered about a month beforehand. (Of course, Grissom was away and so the package didn't get opened until a day or two before it actually happened.)
She knew the victim's routine and that she always followed it.
I vaguely remember Grissom saying something about a micro-contractor, someone who'd custom-build the miniatures. It's been a while since, true, but...yeah.
Are we supposed to believe that the magician from the episode "Abra Cadaver" and the psychic from the episode "The Stalker" were genuinely mystical? That was the impression I got...
Well, there was that one ep with ghosts, even if they were only there as part of the framing sequence. Methinks the supernatural exists, but the cast basically never have a reason to enounter it.
The events were shown from someone's point of view. Just like one of the lizard-alien cultists "saw" a cop's skin moving. Are we supposed to believe that the cops in the series are really repto-humanoids in disguise?
The magician? No; he was already established as a master of his trade, proficient even in the secrets of Houdini himself (like regurgitating keys to escape from shackles). As for the psychic, it's likely Grissom is just giving the benefit of the doubt (real-life police sometimes use psychics in their investigations). For the rest, that's the POV of whomever is called into questioning, and not necessarily indicative of the reality within the show.
Grr, real-life police, on the most part, treat so called psychics with great disdain and ignore sometimes upwards of a hundred calls on major cases. Don't forget, if 99 of them get the facts completely wrong, it doesn't make any news. But as soon as someone can claim that they figured out the body was "inside a building, blah blah" they take as much credit as they can get.
If you're talking about the psychic who was murdered in her occult shop, the script seemed to give conflicting evidence as to whether she was the real deal. She was apparently correct in foreseeing her own murder and finding the perp's murdered wife buried out in the desert...but she's also shown as a huckster making a suspect's wife think he's cheating on her, and then attempting to blackmail the suspect into paying her $5,000 to tell his wife that they're destined to live happily ever after. Whether or not the supernatural exists in the CSI universe is probably up to each individual viewer.
Nah, the psychic from "The Stalker" was the mousy guy who had premonitions about Nick's very own stalker, the cable guy that set up shop in his victims' attic/crawlspace. The psychic had far too accurate visions of the original victim as well as Nick's house.
But he's also shown being wrong. When Nick lets him into his house, he starts babbling about Nick's stalker (which seems accurate,) but then turns and says "Green tea! Does that mean anything to you?" which causes Nick to appear even more skeptical. The show provided examples that could lean either way; maybe he's psychic, or maybe he's just a nutjob...
Assuming that a stalker would be hanging somewhere around the stalk-ee's house is hardly a stretch.
Isn't the "Green Tea" the psychic is referring to the big green T on Nick's rug?
Are we supposed to believe that the crime scene investigators are responsible for research, interrogation, capture arrest and conviction? that's stupid!
Yes and yes. It's just one of those things done to make the show a little more interesting.
Law and Order doesn't do it, but it is actually interesting.
Law & Order doesn't do this, but it does often have high-ranking members of the District Attorney's office doing police-style investigations, which is nearly as unrealistic.
Yeah, but L&O also generally lampshades that the first few times an ADA does it, with quite a lot of people including the main detectives asking 'Why are you here?' and generally wanting said ADA to go away. Unrealistic, yes, but possible if you've got an ADA who has free time and no life like the ones on the show.
Also, that's a bit snarky and basically untrue. On the original series, the CSI team members never arrest anyone — they're not even police officers. Even the other series, where they are, the team only actually performs the arrest on the rare occasion that they end up in a showdown with the suspect. As for "conviction", the closest I think we've ever come to that is that we occasionally see a CSI testifying in court. Yes, they're involved in interviews. It would be a bit strange for the people whose job it is to gather evidence not to be involved with the gathering of evidence. I'm inclined to think that the troper who found this stupid is either confusing the crime scene techs with the homicide detectives (Every show features a group of criminologists and two or three homicide detectives who work closely with them), or jumped to their conclusion a bit prematurely.
In real life, CSIs are scientists, not police officers, and would not be involved in interviews or anything more in-depth than analysing crime scenes, bodies and related objects, and passing that information over to the homicide detectives before moving on to the next crime scene. They would be called into court to testify as to the relevance and usefulness of the evidence, though.
Actually, that varies from city to city; here in Toronto, where this troper lives, the Scene of Crime Unit is composed almost entirely of officers trained in evidence recovery.
I think that Mac from CSI:NY and Horatio from CSI:Miami can arrest someone. It looks like both the Miami and New York divisions have cop powers along with their CSI powers. But as for the Vegas division, they have to leave it all to Brass pretty much.
A little reality check here: the alternative to forensic experts doing most of the things on the show is Loads and Loads of Characters. Do we want that? The authors of the format likely said no. This Troper concurs.
Why do they never turn on the lights at the crime scenes? Wouldn't it be easier, with the exception of using luminol, to gather evidence in a well-lighted room rather than a pitch-black one?
Could destroy evidence on the bulb or switch.
In some of the CSI tie-in novels, actually they describe the correct way to turn on a light switch so that you don't mess up the fingerprints. I'm hazy on the details, but it was something to do with using the back of your gloved hand gently.
It's because it's easier to properly look at details if you see everything in small parts then if you look at it all in one go.
Fine, but so why is the police station/lab so damn dark as well, then?
Because they're the graveyard shift, so they work at night. It's not as dark in Miami or New York.
But doesn't the cop shop/lab have lights? I mean seriously.
This troper recalls a scene from an early season, maybe 1 0r 2, where Grissom tells an officer not to turn on the lights because he "wants to see everything the way the murderer saw it".
I'm not a CSI type, but I find it easier to look at things when there is only one light source.
Because when they use a flashlight the viewer are aware of exactly what they're looking at and therefore if the light pauses it's on something important
As a corollary to the above, if they intentionally leave the lights off to avoid tampering with the crime scene, why do they always then visit interior crime scenes in the middle of the night? I know CSIs are 24 hour, but wouldn't it make sense to take advantage of natural light? They always visit outdoor locations during the day.
Possibly they do visit outdoor crime scenes as soon as the sites are identified as such, day or night, but the show omits scenes of investigators carefully scouring the scene by flashlight because not much of importance is actually found until daybreak, when they can see well enough to work faster.
Are CSIs in real life armed and trained in firearms use, like the ones on the show? I mean, like it was said above, CSIs are supposed to be scientists, not police officers...
Yes, they are.
In some places.
Yeah, depends on the location. In some cities they use CSIs which are scientists who process a crime scene. Some cities use CSUs (Crime Scene Units) these are police or detectives that are trained to process crime scenes. The Miami and New York teams are actually using CSUs, but refer to them as CSIs to maintain the "CSI" branding.
I can buy a CSI member becoming personally involved in a crime. But not his or her buddies running the case. You don't assign Joe's best friend to run the evidence when Joe is a suspect in a triple homicide.
Meat. Bullet. Do I really need to say anything more?
Don't forget the liquid nitrogen. Frozen. Meat. Bullet.
How do those people manage it to pick up a bullet at a crime scene, take a quick look and then state the exact caliber? Think about it: A used bullet is usually shown to be a deformed piece of metal, and even if it had stayed in perfect shape, it still seems extremely unlikely for someone to be able to tell the exact caliber down to a fraction of an inch just by looking at it with the naked eye.
Maker's marks and caliber are usually imprinted on the bottom of the casing... so, a quick flip, and, presuming the imprint isn't microscopic... "Hey, this was a Smith and Wesson 88 caliber!"
That's true for the casing, but AFAIK not for the projectile itself. They pull that deformed piece of metal out of a wall/body/whatever, take a quick look and state the caliber. Normally you would have to measure it with some sort of precision tool.
Like most things on CSI, the "correct" way of doing stuff is shown intermittently, with some series putting more effort into it than others.
Why do CSI's and Police Officers freak out so often when someone is carrying (just carrying, not brandishing) a gun? As far as The Other Wiki says, licensed concealed carry is perfectly legal in Nevada.
Because if you can see it it's not concealed carry.
Doesn't matter. Nevada is a 'shall issue' state with open carry laws. You can have a gun on your hip in plain sight and wander down the street in full view, going from bank to bank. This troper is more infuriated by the question, "You got a registration for this gun?" habitually asked by the Detective (whatever his name is). I'm waiting for the reply, "No, because THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GUN REGISTRATION, ASSHAT!" A license to carry a concealed firearm does not register or license the firearm itself. My CPL allows me to carry anything in my personal arsenal— or all at once if I choose. I do not have to register each of my guns. (And beware the government that WANTS you to do so.)
This Troper was talking about scenes where the concealed gun became visible, e.g. a shoulder holster came into view because the CSIs could look under someones jacket.
Also, just because something is legal doesn't mean they have to like it. (Hell, that's This Troper's entire attitude toward guns)
The series are produced in California, which has a near-insane gun phobia. Since the shorthand is gun-carrying = villain, they skimped on research.
Going armed while being a civilian in Nevada is not going to upset the police. Going armed while you're a person of interest in a criminal investigation will.
When the Miami crime lab sends a message to the Las Vegas crime lab asking for assistance, shouldn't the Las Vegas representative be the person in charge, or someone very close to it? Langston was the lowest-ranking CSI in the building. I know it was all about following the big movie star across the CSI franchise, but a single hand wave about why the low man on the totem pole got to take such an important phone call would ease my concerns. Maybe he has more seniority than I thought.
The low man on the totem pole is always the one who answers the phone - the bigwigs are too busy doing important stuff to answer phones. This is the main source of back channel gossip in real life (the boss' assistant always knows what's going on!).
In the episode 4x4, they show a day in the lives of the cast... everyone gets a case, basically. And Greg and Sara end up investigating a dead body builder's house, only for Doc Robins to have them pulled out for hazmat scares. Sara and Greg go back into the house later, wearing only respirators, to track the source of the mold... but, the guys who came in to pull them out and hose them down were in full body suits! What?
The best part is that mold doesn't have to be breathed to be hazardous. It could've gotten on their hair or clothes and then spread out from the house just as easily.
Possibly it took a little while to determine just how severe the buildup of mold was. The Hazmat people were being ultra-cautious (which is their job), but once the toxin levels were measured, it turned out that body suits weren't necessary.
Using a shaky cellphone recorded video that was posted on Youtube (or its generic equivalent) to track down the seating arrangement in a concert in order to find the killer. I think I just heard my willing suspension of disbelief jump off a bridge.
Hey, they got that nifty Enhance Button. You can do anything with one of those. ;-)
Yeah, that one was quite a bit of a stretch, but I think CSI:NY would make that suspension of disbelief jump off a skyscraper in comparison.
Really? Because to me NY seemed like the most realistic one. No one's particularly well skilled at multiple fields and the tech is at least reasonably possible.
In one episode, they claim that, when a man says "I loved my wife" instead of "I love my wife," it implicates him as the killer because he didn't use her name in the present tense. He was later found to be the killer, but still: Excuse me, what? Am I going to be blamed for a crime because I don't use a word in the present tense? That seemed to be grabbing at straws to find the killer, regardless of whether or not he was the killer.
Implication or even Suspect does not mean guilty. You better believe if your wife is dead, and you should have no way of knowing about that, and you used the past tense - the detectives would be certainly taking notice. Not grounds for arrest, but certainly grounds for investigation.
Yeah, the show itself explained this. Brass says that, in all his years in the force, he has never heard anyone refer to their dead loved ones in the past tense unless they had something to do with their death. It's not that he "blamed" the husband for the crime, but that his attitude made Brass suspicious... which led to the investigation. Where they used evidence to prove he was the killer.
And it's not even the thing that got Brass suspicious. He bought the grieving husband act at first too. It's only when he later saw the husband climbing into a brand new Ferrari at a club that he decided to reopen the investigation. The tense thing was just something he brought up to show why he should've been suspicious from the start.
Why do the males always seem to be the killers, or usually the first to be accused of being the killer, on CSI? The interrogators always seem to be more aggressive on the males than the women, and seem to try to implicate them more. I understand that the statistics say that men are more likely to kill than women, but it hardly justifies some of what they do...
Because statistics tend to play out far more frequently than TV seems to show - often because that's more entertaining and less predictable. However, it's not just the fact that someone was murdered that the guy is the first suspect, it's also the sex of the victim and the means in which they died. For instance, if the victim is female, and cause of death was BFT, large caliber weapon, or stabbing with a hunting knife then the suspect is most likely male. However, if the victim is male, and the cause of death was poison or a kitchen knife, then the suspect would most likely be female
But they're just implying that a woman can't kill a man with a big heavy peice of death-delivering equipment! Isn't that a wee bit sexist? (I'm not implying she can overpower her hubby if she charged him head on with a hunting knife. I'm saying that why can't they do an episode where they show a woman carefully planning how to kill her husband with said hunting knife?)
Statistically, women are generally weaker than men. Sorry that real life upsets you so much, but that's your fault.
Of course she could kill a man with a hunting knife. It's just that she probably wouldn't. Sexist as it may sound, when it comes to murder, there is a difference between the sexes. If a woman has to decide between stabbing her man or poisoning him, she is statistically more likely to go with the poison. But of course you're right; it would be nice to see some variation and it wouldn't be that hard for them to come up with a scenario in which it made sense for the woman to kill a man with a hunting knife or some other sort of big weapon.
They also tend to investigate every possible adult culprit before even a hint of suspicion falls on a child, which can be annoying considering how many times it's turned out that a kid committed the crime.
Maybe because in most cases, that's the most reasonable course of action to take first, considering adults usually tend to be more capable? I know, an alarmingly complex concept, innit?
Ever noticed how often the murderer turns out to be a teenage, or younger, girl? Sure, teenage girls do murder in real life, but not often and it's usually younger children that they kill. How likely is it that a teenage girl would murder a succession of teenage boys and bury them in the yard? Or that a young girl would, or could, restrain her father, force her dead mother's ashes down his throat, then hack up his body in the bath?
Never confuse "unlikely" with "impossible". Just because this could hold true for the majority doesn't mean it holds true for everyone.
On one of the episodes during the first season, the team finds a strange fingerprint that have some sort of plastic in it. They later find out that the killer was using a plastic model of a real hand to leave these fingerprints. Unfortunately, fingerprints are only left behind due to oils on a human finger being rubbed off onto a surface, so unless this plastic was dipped in baby oil before use, it shouldn't have left any prints...
Right. They showed the killer spraying it with a cooking oil to leave prints. The show was a multi-parter so that was easily missed.
Honestly, I'm a bit surprised nobody's mentioned this yet. Fur And Loathing is the only episode of any of the shows I've seen. I kind of liked it, but I'm sure some of you can guess why I'm writing this. I can't really even think how to start. Firstly, no, those suits trap enough heat already without being made of latex, let alone in NEVADA! Secondly, yes, a good majority of us demonstrate *some* interest in the sexual aspects, but 95/100 times costumes aren't involved, 99/100 times that's not the full extent of it, and it's definitely NOT the focal point of conventions. Third, I'm by no means a prude, and I'm kind of in that previously mentioned 5/100, but my god, why is this so squick-filled? If you're abusing a fetish to the point it disgusts people WITH THAT FETISH, there's a problem.
Chillax brah. You're not alone. They made a foot fetishist one of the creepiest murderers on the whole show. And i was not bothered.
The use of subcultures in this way is so common on detective shows that there's a whole trope about it, Subculture of the Week.
I'm not sure if this I'm the only one bothered by this, or if I even should be, but out of all the casinos and hotels is Las Vegas quite a few crime scenes are at that Tangiers place. I know there are episodes involving other places, but the show seems to like having crimes take place at the Tangiers, or having something happen to its employees. Maybe there are offscreen cases that are in other places, but the writers seem to enjoy episodes involving the Tangiers, either the place itself or its employees and patrons. It's gotten to the point where when I'm watching reruns of the older seasons when a body turns up, I could guess that they were either recently there or work there, and chances were pretty good I'd be right.
Happily, this has a simple answer: The Tangiers doesn't actually exist. Between shooting schedules and the slim chance that a real life place would allow you to slap their name on a series of gruesome murders, it's more convenient to just invent a handful of go-to places for people to work at/be murdered in. Of course, this does mean that, yes, you do get a microcosm of Midsomer Murders on the Strip.
There are a few other locations they've invented for similar reasons, like Dante's Pizza. Going by the show, you'd think it's the only pizza place in Vegas: whether it's a pizza box at a crime scene or a delivery-boy witness, they're always from Dante's.
Fun fact: The Tangiers was originally the name given to the casino run by the main protagonist in the Scorsese film Casino (and owned by the Mob). The film was a major influence on the creators of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and hence the use of the same name is a definite Shout-Out. Of course, setting episodes at the Tangiers also gives an excuse for Catherine to interact with Sam Braun, her relationship with him being something of an ongoing sub-plot.
They did use the name of the Rampart, which is a real casino, though the fictional version was imploded in season 7.
It's a minor Idiot Ball moment but still bugged me in its sheer pointlessness: in a season 1 episode, the team finds a head that's apparently been clumsily hacked off with an axe. Catherine says it looks like a crime of passion. "You really think a woman did this?" Grissom asks skeptically - because, uh, no crime of passion's ever been committed by a jealous husband? And gay people don't exist? (As it turns out the victim was gay, and was killed by his ex, so Catherine was right and they would have been on the right track much earlier if they'd made the blindingly obvious connection between "crime of passion" and "probably not a female killer" rather than acting like those two are mutually exclusive.)
Here's a thought: Grissom made an error in judgement because he's human and.... surprise! Humans tend to do that sort of thing. YES, even PROFESSIONALS. I KNOW! Isn't it MINDBLOWING?!
A lot of things about the sub-plot of "Unleashed" were just confusing. Here's what I have to ask about: note I only saw the episode once, so I might not be correct on some of the questions I provide...
If Maria was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and the episode takes place in April, then she must have got pregnant in July. So did they meet somewhere prior to Homecoming? And did Maria know full well that the guy was going to impregnate her, or did she just have sex with him unaware of what could have happened? He just admitted that he impregnated her, but she might have wanted to go through with it.
And I may have heard this wrong, but 11 million views in 18 hours?!?!?! I did the math, and that's 10,185 views a minute. How did they make a video that they edited to make a cheerleader look like she was calling herself a "whore" that global? And they attached Maria's e-mail and cell number to the description?!? Seriously, ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe it. And yes, I know this is television, but I don't think anything that has happened in real life has ever touched that much.
People who just don't like cheerleaders, believe they're all the stereotypical high school cheerleaders, and they find a video where one of them supposedly calls herself a "whore"? Yeah, they may get all over that.
For that matter, was their plan to let Maria get bombarded when she was closer to her due date?
How could she have gone so long without her mother ever discovering her pregnancy? And why didn't she try to get her mother to help her at any point throughout all this??
You'd be surprised at how easy it is to hide your pregnancy. As to why she never told her mother? Probably because she was afraid her mother would yell at her.
Also, am I the only one who found that cyberbullying bombardment absolutely horrifying? (That's why I put spoilers.)
Lastly, why does the boyfriend get off scot-free at the end? Just because Nick was upset that the baby had nowhere to go? His dumping her had no real justification save not wanting to help her take care of the baby, so he inadvertently had a part in this too. Sure, he was unaware of what was going to happen, but he should have been able to at least listen to her when she was being bullied.
I admit that I have not kept up with the show since Grissom left so this may have changed, but what was with the way all the CSIs treated Hodges, Grissom especially? I can sort of understand some of the CSIs calling him out for sucking up to Grissom, but it really bothered me when Grissom himself called him out on it. Hodges just wanted a sort of mentor/protege relationship, but Grissom literally never even gave him the time of day, and when he did deign to speak to Hodges, he was always very condescending. Their dynamic was not so different than the one between J.D. and Doctor Cox, but for some reason Hodges was always treated as very pathetic.
Because Hodges used to be a hell of a Small Name, Big Ego back in the day. He sucked up to Grissom- to the point where at times it seemed like he had deluded himself into believing Grissom regarded him as an equal- yet was pretty condescending to everyone else, especially Greg. He acted like the evidence he processed was more important than all the other labs, and not to mention he didn't think highly of field work, which was one half of the CSI's job. All in all he wasn't put down so much as he insulted the CSI's so they insulted back. And besides, Grissom was Grissom - he'd be the last guy to understand Hodges' way of thinking.
In the episode Wild Life, an elderly couple is found dead. Eventually it's revealed that the man fell in the tub, and the woman fell on her knife. However, it never occurs to anyone until over halfway through the episode that anyone even suggests that even one of the deaths is an accident (... an old man is found dead in a tub and "slipped and fell" doesn't even cross anyone's mind?). Admittedly, falling on the knife is... unlikely, but no one came up with that idea until the very end.
About Doctor Jekyll's second victim: how did he get that second appendix inside the victim? The thing is almost as big as your fist, and the only incision was a nearly undetectable one in the victim's navel.
It probably wasn't that big when it was first implanted, but swelled up from inflammation when the victim's body started rejecting the graft.
Exactly what kind of legal consequences did Ray Langston get for killing Nate Haskell? I can't imagine that he would be prosecuted for murder, since any DA who tried to press charges against Langston would probably end up in very hot water with his constituents. Even if Langston was charged, I could just as easily see the families of Haskell's victims pooling their resources to hire the CSI universe's equivalent of F. Lee Bailey to defend him, or being acquitted by the jury simply as a matter of principle through jury nullification. I wouldn't be surprised if there were even people phoning the Las Vegas Mayor's office demanding that he give Langston the key to the city or something like that. What exactly happened to Langston after he killed Haskell?
If I recall correctly, Langston mentioned having a mental disorder that made him have fits of anger, sometimes suddenly. I can see any DA try to bring that up as "evidence" that Langston is unfit to be a CSI.
Aren't the CSIs in Las Vegas supposed to work the graveyard shift? Half the time they're working cases during the day.
If a crime scene is first discovered at night, the night shift works it throughout to maintain consistency in who's handling and processing the evidence. Sometimes that means staying on until daylight. Occasionally the main characters will be temporarily assigned to work days, if the day shift is understaffed.
One thing that bothered me about the Paul Millander serial killer: In his final appearance, we find out that he's a female to male transsexual. However, in his second appearance, he placed an upside down stamp on his victim's bills from which Greg extracts DNA which he states is male and doesn't match the victims. However, wouldn't the DNA have come up XX at that point? You can change the way you look but you can't change your chromosomes, surely? Also, if Paul Millander was also Judge Douglas Mason, wouldn't this have come up in the first episode when they ran the fingerprints they found at the very first crime scene?
I can't believe no one noticed this before, I mean, don't autopsy rooms in all three shows look a little innappropiate for examining corpses? Medical examination involves high biological risks, and those morgues don't look too safe for that.
As of season 4 Grissom won't let Catherine work on a case involving Sam Braun or his casinos. Fair enough considering they now know she's Sam's daughter and it would be a conflict of interest. However why was Catherine allowed to work on cases involving Sam or his Casinos before this? They may have been unaware that Sam was Catherine's father but it was common knowledge that Catherine was friends with the Braun family yet she was still allowed to work cases like the one where one of Sam's sons killed the other. Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't that still be a conflict of interest and therefore keep Catherine off the case?
Catherine wasn't so much a friend of the Brauns, early on. She knew Sam as an old friend of her mother's, but she'd barely seen him in years when he's first introduced as a character.