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Evidence Scavenger Hunt

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Oops. There's a body, or the jewels are gone, or someone ate the last piece of pie from the detectives' lounge fridge. Time to start looking for clues. That piece of pie was mine!

This is the section of a crime and punishment show where the cast chases down clues hidden in fingerprints, fabric fibers and DNA. The CSI shows spend a good bit of time in this phase, usually with at least two lab montages. In fact, the section has become so stylized and perfunctory that some shows have resorted to doing the whole thing in montage.

Sometimes, after some Perp Sweating or a "Eureka!" Moment, the detective will be given an additional montage where he gathers the last shreds of evidence he needs. Sometimes the veteran detective will find a spot or item that the young CSI team missed (a cigarette butt between the cracks of the floor, a shell casing under a table, or a fleck of lint).

The detective gathers the final sample, asks questions and makes arrangements with lab geeks in labcoats. The CSI scientists' use of test tubes and microscopes will be completely meaningless and confusing to the viewer until the detective's summation makes everything clear.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • THE iDOLM@STER anime plays with this, when the Futami twins are trying to discover who stole Iori's pudding from the fridge. Complete with summation in the end.
    • Another one from the same episode, earlier they are shooting a drama episode where this happens to the three sisters that are the played by the three girls from the Ryuugu Komachi.

     Fan Works  


  • Déjà Vu (2006): After the bomb, in Claire's house and at the suspect's house.
  • Evidence: A sort of variation on the trope; the movie revolves around investigators searching for clues in video footage recovered from the scene of a mass murder.


     Live Action TV  

  • The Forgotten: A prominent portion of the show revolves around the volunteers of the Forgotten Network assembling clues as to who the victim is, usually punctuated by beyond the grave narration from the John or Jane Doe.
  • In Cadfael, Cadfael often traces the location of a murder or the victim's path by examining the plant fragments found on and around the body, since he's the abbey herbalist.


     Video Games  

  • Love & Pies: Amelia searches the cafe for clues about the arson, eventually finding a lighter with the culprit's initials.
  • Sigma Harmonics: After going back to a certain time and a certain place, Sigma can use his sound-related powers to uncover 'moments of sound' - clues as to what happened in that place during that time.

     Visual Novels  

  • Almost every case in the Ace Attorney series of games has you scrambling for evidence just after the crime was committed, alternating with days in court.
    • In-universe, this is justified by the rather taxing court system, which demands that every single claim the defense lays out must be backed up by evidence. So of course, Phoenix needs to cart around every potential piece of evidence he can find before the trial, or else his accusations get quickly shot down by the judge/prosecution/witness, on the grounds that there's no evidence to back it up.
  • The second phase of each chapter in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, which takes place whenever someone gets murdered, consists of gathering evidence for the upcoming school trial.
  • In the minigame where the protagonist of Daughter for Dessert looks for clues in Mortelli’s office, he finds some valuable information: Amanda has been meeting secretly with Cecilia, and Mortelli has been digging into the diner’s finances. Oh yeah, and Mortelli found his stolen toaster.

     Western Animation  

  • Every Scooby-Doo episode involves the gang looking for clues in the mystery they are currently solving.