Any real police officer will tell you that the forensic shows on TV these days are glorified representations of real police work. On these shows, everyone works in beautiful, high tech offices where crimes are solved magically with all these high-powered machines. In real life, though, police work is ugly, dirty, and involves long hours and plenty of mental frustration. However, nobody turns on their TVs to watch unhappy people doing their jobs. They want to see law enforcement magicians in action, instead. Viewers need to face the fact that many of these shows are actually the same basic show, usually set in different parts of the country. The scenery may change, but these six TV dramas are all the same generalized stories, solved by good looking law enforcers.
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which is also known as “CSI: Las Vegas,” is the granddaddy of them all. It premiered on CBS in 2000, and was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It’s all about the work of Nevada crime fighters that work for the Las Vegas Police Department. They use physical evidence to solve usually grisly murders. In other words, forensics.
Using cutting edge scientific methods, this team of forensic experts solve crimes in South Florida. It features the star power of David Caruso as L. Horatio “H” Cane. If you like this show so much, you can even get “CSI: Miami” comic books and video games. The show makes great use of pretty beach scenes, which contrast nicely with all the blood and guts.
“CSI: New York”
The New York local for CSI was spun off from a second season episode of “CSI: Miami.” This TV show also has big name recognition in the character of Detective Mac Taylor, played by Gary Sinise. It’s featured some wonderful guest appearances. In fact, Ed Asner got an Emmy nomination for his role in the 2009 episode, “Yahrzeit.”
NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which is a United States law enforcement agency that investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Did you know that “NCIS” was referred to as “Navy NCIS” during its first season? Of course, if you think about it, the “navy” part is actually redundant. This show appeals to people that may not be all that excited about crime shows because of its fine cast. Mark Harmon, as Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, is just so easy to like. He may have a hard exterior, but he also has a heart of gold. The program uses a lot of humor and interplay among the characters to help divert your attention from all the gore showed on the screen.
“Cold Case” was based in Philadelphia. The show ran from 2003 to 2010, and involved cold cases, which are unsolved cases. It starred Kathryn Morris as Detective Lily Rush, a homicide detective—of course—who specialized in investigating and solving cases no longer being actively pursued by the department. You could say that in their view, there is never any such thing as a ‘cold’ case.
“Without A Trace”
“Without A Trace” concerns the Missing Persons Unit (MPU) of the FBI in New York City. It ran for seven seasons. The show made a name for itself by presenting worthy competition to “ER” back in 2002 when the show first started. “ER” was a huge ratings hit, so any show that could give it a run for its money, at the time, was a pretty big deal.