Fictional crime shows and real crime shows share some similarities as well differences. For example, both shows attempt to unlock the mystery of crime scenes in a logical and systematic manner. Nevertheless, fictional crime shows also differ significantly from real crime shows. The differences arise in terms of the tools used for investigation, and the period required to solve the issues under investigation.
A good example of a real crime show is First 48. In season 10, episode 6, the detectives attempt to resolve the murder of a 28-year-old man stabbed to death while working in a smoke shop. In order to resolve the murder, detectives have to work as a team, and it takes long before the arrest of the first suspect. This is because the detectives have to cross-check their evidence before arresting the suspects and corroborate the evidence they gather with witness accounts.
In the same episode, detectives have to go through a long chain of investigations before resolving the murder the murder of a 35-year-old man shot inside the bathroom of a local bar. The period taken to resolve both murder cases shows that real crime cases take a long time to resolve. This is unlike fictional crime shows where it takes a short period before resolving similar cases.
For example, in CSI (season 3, episode 2), it takes three hours after the murder of a fifteen-year-old girl to nail the serial killer. In addition, CSI portrays an excessive use of forensic evidence to nail down the suspects. This is unlike The First 48 whereby the use of forensic evidence is minimal. Again, in CSI, detectives raid a house belonging to one of the suspects. This is unlike real life situations, whereby it is hard to raid houses without a warrant to search the house.
Fictional crime shows have negative impact on the investigation of real crime shows. For example, the public place high expectations on the investigators and the jurors. It also creates scenarios whereby the public expect crime cases to be resolved immediately. The public does not understand that real-life crime cases may take a long period to resolve because evidence may be hard to come by. Again, some of the things done in fictional crime shows are not possible in real-life crime scenes. For example, the jurors in fictional crime scenes may rely on few pieces of evidence to declare the suspect guilty. In some instances, even a single piece of information is enough to declare the suspect guilty. However, this is not the way things are done in real life because cases are built and won by building several pieces of evidence. Jurors in real life crime scenes require water-tight evidence to convict a suspect.
Although fictional crime shows and real crime shows are similar in that they try to resolve crime scenes, they also differ in a number of ways. For example, real life crime scenes require days, and not hours, to resolve. Moreover, real life crime scenes require a long chain of evidence to convict the suspect. As a result of fictional crime shows, the public places high expectations on the investigators and the jurors. This may create unnecessary tension, and sometimes frustrate the course of investigation and justice. For example, investigators may be expected to move with speed and resolve a crime scene within hours, while jurors may be expect to convict a suspect without hard evidence. However, the public should understand that fictional crimes shows differ from real-life experiences because a lot of things portrayed in fictional scenes may not be possible in real life.
Kim, J., Robie, A., McKillop, D., Bryant, E. F., Fleury, L., & Tarshis, P. (Directors). (2010).
The First 48: Smokescreen/The Last Good Bye [Motion Picture].
Zuiker, A. E. (Director). (2005 ). CSI: Season 3, Espisode 2 [Motion Picture].