Real-Life CSI Work Vastly Different from What is Seen on TV

The television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigations is wildly popular and has been cited as one of the reasons the CSI profession has experience a significant increase in interest by individual looking to take it up as a career. But one forensic pathology professor in Sydney, Australia is trying to make it known to those studying to be a crime scene investigator that real-life crimes are not solved the way they are on the TV series.

Johan Duflou recently testified during a murder trial that he is not a fan of the show because it glamorizes and hence makes light of a profession that is extremely serious in its purpose. Duflou noted that while the television show deals almost exclusively in absolutes of fact, with the investigative professionals rarely if ever expressing doubt about their conclusions or how they reached them, real-life CSIs deal with far more uncertainty. He said that when he is on the witness stand offering testimony about a particular case, he often finds himself saying things like “I’m really not sure,” and “I don’t have a definitive answer to that question,” or something similar.

True forensic pathology, according to Duflou, is not as black-and-white as laypersons might think it is from what they see on television and in movies. For Dr. Duflour, whose entire career has been spent performing and teaching forensic pathology, the field is largely an exact science but the application thereof is anything but.

Much of the work in the field, says Dr. Duflour, is interpretation and educated guesswork and therefore is subject to a tremendous amount of uncertainty. However, he says that his statements are not intended to discourage people from pursuing a career in forensic science but rather simply to make sure that those who are considering this career path know the reality of what they are getting into.