TV vs. real crime scenes | June 5, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Cover Story - June 5, 2009

TV vs. real crime scenes

by Geoff Gillette

With more than a half dozen mainstream television shows dealing with crime scene investigation you'd think at least some of them would get it right. Not so, said David Freidel, director of operations for Alacritas Inc., an affiliate of Crime Scene Cleaners Inc.

Alacritas provides transportation and storage services for mortal remains. Freidel said he has seen plenty of crime scenes in his years in the business and has yet to see one that looks at all like what one would see on CSI.

"For one thing," he said, "CSI's don't work in pairs. Most of them are deputies who've been trained in crime scene investigation."

Other ways that reality differs from TV:

* It's never as neat and sterile as it looks on TV.

* Bodies aren't neatly in one place.

* CSI's don't go into houses alone with guns drawn.

* Most of the scientific investigation happens in the lab.

* Coroners and pathologists don't go to the crime scene.

Freidel said he understands the need for things to be orderly on a TV set, but in real life things just aren't that tidy. He added that police officers are trained to examine the scene, bag up the evidence and move on.

"You don't hear a lot of chatter at a crime scene. And investigators don't argue about their interpretation of a scene," he said.

What show comes closest to matching real life? According to Freidel it would be "First 48."