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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2011;39(3):412-7.

Reel forensic experts: Forensic psychiatrists as portrayed on screen.

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Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare, McKee 2, 1756 Sagamore Road, Northfield, OH 44067, USA.


The lay public is much more likely to have encountered a forensic psychiatrist on television or in the movies than to have encountered a real one. Thus, by way of popular culture, the jury's perceptions and expectations of forensic expert witnesses may have been formed long before they take the stand. We describe a typology of five categories of forensic experts portrayed in fiction: Dr. Evil, The Professor, The Hired Gun, The Activist, and the Jack of All Trades. As art imitates life, these categories (aside from Dr. Evil) mirror real-life criticisms that have been made about forensic experts.

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