CSI Opinion

In viewing Season 8 of CSI Miami, episode number 13 (episode length 4400), titled Die by the Sword (Bruckheimer, 2010) it has been duly noted that the use of modern technology in solving complex crimes has made even the most perfect murders nearly impossible to get away with. While many of the thought processes and techniques shared on CSI give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at crime scene investigation, some of the techniques used are so sensational that further probing seems necessary to conclude just how realistic they are. In the pages to follow, opinions derived from a critical viewing of season 8, episode 13 of CSI Miami will be shared.

    In workingprocessing a crime scene, the detectives full survey of the scene was one item that proved legitimacy. Acknowledgement of the positioning of the blood pool underneath the victim was another item.  Careful observation of blood spatters and metal fragments (from the murder weapon) found at the crime scene were other points that aided in proving legitimacy of the techniques used.

    Investigation techniques that may have been fabricated for entertainment purposes were Jesse Cardozas (investigator) ability to instantly identify the murder weapon, a Kitana (Japanese) Sword his reasoning was close investigation of the gang involved in the crime.  Another item was how easily this same investigator procured DNA evidence (i.e., a used tattoo needle containing the blood of the gang leader who ordered the murder of the victim) in a public trash bin. While things like this may happen to real detectives, since they- like most humans- draw on past experiences while working on current cases, it seemed a little too perfect to be true in this instance.

    The crime scene personnel needed for the crime scene were the lead detective and the medical examiner, initially. Their function was to investigate the crime scene and ensure the safe procurement of evidence without tainting it. As additional evidence revealed a motive, two other detectives- one a ballistics expert- returned to the crime scene to seek out the origin of additional evidence (a pine-scented jacket the victim wore at the time of his murder).

    The next thing observed is five items of evidence identified from the case being solved, and why they were important. The first item is the victims jacket, which had a strong pine needle smell. This resulted in investigators re-visiting the crime scene

    The second item is the pesticide infested run-off from the sprinkler system. This system was installed in a neglected flowerbed on the rooftop of the warehouse where the victim was murdered. While attempting to evade his killer, the victim hid against a wall covered in fluids from the run-off this was the origin of the pine needle smell on the victims jacket. This evidence would have been missed had it not been for the strong pine scent.

    The third item was a metal flake from the murder weapon. This fragment was found at the crime scene, and once tested, the carbon content of the metal revealed the type of sword it was and how it was created.

    The fourth item was reflective traces of the same pesticide from the victims jacket, on the back of the suspects neck. This helped detectives confirm the actual killer.

    The fifth item was DNA evidence from a tattoo needle used to tattoo the gang leader who hired the murderer. This piece of evidence was essential since it helped detectives identify a motive. The victim was the adopted father of the gang leaders son. While running the tests that identified the father and son as a DNA match, the detectives also learned that the gang leader needed a liver transplant and wanted custody of his son so he could have a matching related liver donor.


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