CSI - Can they solve a crime without a mag-lite?

Oh, for the love of batteries… does the producer of this show own mag-lite or Duracell? I like the show, but this little annoyance is starting to get the best of me. They can find fly shit in pepper, but they can’t find a light switch?

Is it normal for CSI’s to go to every crime scene and NOT turn on the lights? Do they see the world only through a light beam? Hey, I can appreciate the dramatic flair of the beam, and I can understand if it’s an ultraviolet light and they are trying to find semen. But for a normal crime scene walkthrough, can’t they just once flip a damn switch?


For the initial walkthrough, many crime scene technicians prefer to walk through the scene as it was found. Depending on what lights are on, you can make some assumptions as to what was going on when the crime occurred (not to mention getting prints off the switches). Later, after the initial walkthrough, the positions of the switches will have been documented and dusted and the lights can be used.

Of course, CSI isn’t exactly a perfect picture of real-life crime scene techs, but it is closer in some regards than others.

I asked myself the very same question during tonight’s episode, when two of the CSI’s were in the kitchen going through the contents of the fridge and the shopping bags. Sure the light was off, but it was daylight outside and the room appeared pretty well-lit. Yet Sarah still felt the need to hold her maglight up, cop-style, to determine what type of groceries she was holding. You’d think they were working at the end of some mine-shaft or something.

Force of habit probably.

Because it’s mooooody and noirish.

Question about last night’s show: When they were looking in the trash cans in the back, what was in that first Ziploc baggie that Grissom pulled out? I realized it was some sort of body part after they came back from the commercials and were finding them in all the trash cans, but when he first pulled it out after finding the bloody rags, I thought it was just more rags in a Ziploc. What was in that first one?

Boy, between the bloody neck stump in the ground from a few weeks ago and the bloody ankle stumps in the blown-up car from a few shows ago, they’re really going for the gore this season, aren’t they?
Oh, and I agree about the flashlights. There was a first-season episode where they found a whole family murdered in a house, and they spent the entire time wandering around looking for evidence, IN THE DAMN DARK!
I kept thinking, “If you’d turn the lights on, you could find stuff easier!”

And another question: have they ever *not *been able to solve a case?

Back when The X-Files was being made, the writers admitted they tried to get at least one flashlight scene into each episode. It’s spookier that way, and they can show you exactly what you’re supposed to see, hiding everything else. X-fans ate it up.

Short answer: no.

Maglites are essential to ALL investigations. They have…powers.

Yes, at least once that I recall, though ISTR another time, too.

The one I remember ended with G. saying “He might be smarter than me!?” ISTR that this involved a woman who’d been seeing a gigalo on the side, as opposed tot he one her husband had set her up with, then someone died, then she died…or the husband died, I don’t recall, but the principle suspect was murdered too, and that was the thing.

Anyway, yes, there has been at least one ep that ended with them not having it solved.

Gah, I have no real idea what happened last night. Did that Dr. actually kill the people? Do we care? Was it all about the CSI guy’s angst about his profession? What’s with the stupid beard now?

There was an episode a few seasons back where someone goes to turn on the light and Grissom tells them not to; he wanted to leave the scene exactly the way the criminal left it. So, yeah, they do tend to wander around in the dark quite a bit.

The theory behind the dark and the flashlights is that a bit of evidence may stand out more because of the shadow it casts.

Of course, the fact that it makes the show more moody and dramatic is an added bonus.

There have been quite a few episodes where they didn’t “solve” the crime in that they never got enough evidence to convict who they thought was responsible (though they had a pretty good idea who it was; sort of like last night) and at least one or two where they weren’t even sure who the perp was.