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Forensic Sci Int. 2019 Aug;301:455-460. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.05.020. Epub 2019 May 17.

The CSI effect on cold case investigations.

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1639 Potomac Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003, United States. Electronic address:


Much has been made about the potential impact of fictional crime scene shows in the media on jury verdicts. However, there has been little discussion about how those programs, and the myriad of other true crime shows and documentaries may otherwise influence the actual investigative process. The intent of this paper is to discuss ways that such shows may impact the investigative process. The focus will be on the investigation of old, unsolved cases, commonly referred to as cold cases, because of the increasing focus on forensics in all aspects of the investigation and the number of television shows that feature such cases. This paper is not intended to be an academic study of the issue, as it relies much on anecdotal evidence and the experience of the author and others. The purpose is to hopefully generate further discussion and research with the goal of improving the investigative process.


CSI effect; Cold case investigations; Forensics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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