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REVIEW of Focus 48
TV-Sleuthing - Close, but no Cigar!
is forensic science really like we see it on the box?

Watching TV and movie characters investigating crimes and disappearances is intriguing. Viewers quite often try to pit their wits against these on-screen experts; and the knowledge for them to compete on a level playing field is gleaned from seeing what goes on many times over, give or take a commercial or five. Unfortunately, not everything portrayed is as it happens in real life; and it is often abridged or manipulated to fit the time frame and story line. Putting this aside for the moment, there is still a fair amount of truth left over to make these shows believable, if not perfectly accurate.

Investigative techniques have come a long way since the early days. Fingerprinting has been employed for years as proof that a suspect was at the crime scene and touched a surface or object. Testing blood samples is now more than just for type: DNA reveals details of individual, sometimes minute traces of evidence that can pinpoint which particular person deposited it. There are also quite diverse methods that have been used to identify a body that presents seemingly none of the usual key factors, and this is dealt with in the full article.

Forensics is the modern science of choice these days; but it does have disadvantages. Analytical procedures do take their toll; because when there is just a limited amount of evidence gathered, some tests can only be performed the once; after which the original sample is destroyed. This practice can lead to decisions having to be made regarding which tests to perform to determine the whole truth; and it is not always left to the forensic analyst. Others like police investigators and budget restraints can have a huge bearing on outcomes. TV sleuths may have the luxury of taking short cuts to get it right in the end; but in the real world it doesn't always happen that way.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 48 click here

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