On “CSI,” the technology and forensics used were often technically accurate, but they repeatedly cheated on how long specific tests would take to reveal evidence. “CSI” had to put a case into a forty-minute timeframe for an episode, so tests that would take days or weeks to come back in reality only took a few seconds on the show.
In an interview with Rasmussen University’s criminal justice blog, Brian McKenna, a former CSI investigator, commented that “I roll my eyes about the speed at which crime scene investigators [on TV] get results back from the lab. It takes a very long time to process a lot of the evidence obtained, especially Hollywood’s most popular kind of evidence — DNA.”
According to Slate, forensic science itself has often been critiqued as biased and unreliable, even if many jurors now trust it thanks to shows like “CSI.” It’ll be interesting to see if the upcoming sequel series, “CSI: Vegas,” featuring a returning William Petersen, will incorporate criticisms of the field into the show.
You can currently watch all fifteen seasons of “CSI” on Hulu.