History is too odd and too human to be treated like a science. It's better to think of it as a laboratory.
CSI: Great Britain, circa 1880
I have recently become hypnotized by CSI: Miami. I know, I can hear you begin to chuckle, but there is something about Horatio Caine and his team of criminal investigators that intrigues me and draws me in. Over 100 episodes later, I am still sitting on the edge of my seat, glancing at the clock late at night to see if I can stay awake through another 43 minutes of twist and turns as murder plots unfold and Miami’s worst fall to Caine and his team. I have Netflix to thank for my recent addiction, never before in the history of the world has it been possible for someone to have access to over 250 episodes all in one place. Whether this is good or bad, the truth is, I am enthralled.
As a college student, and even more importantly an ISI student, I cannot accept CSI: Miami at face value. There HAS to be something deeper. So as I sit in my living room, fighting fatigue to push through another episode, I ask myself, why did these shows develop?
I think the answer lies in the past, as most answers do! I cannot help but think of another character, one with more intellect and skill than any character on TV today, who would call Caine and others like him “elementary”. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes dwarfs all modern crime fighting figures. In fact, without Holmes, forensic science would not exist. Edmund Locard, a pioneer in forensic science at the beginning of the 20th century often looked to Holmes for inspiration and ideas. Holmes had microscopes in his lab; he also looked at shoe prints and utilized various modern forensic techniques, all long before police departments did.
Without the fictional character of Holmes, many crime fighting techniques would have developed much later in the century. Locard often talked about how his work was affected by Holmes. When Locard came upon a particularly difficult case, he would pick up Holmes and read.
So, I encourage you to sit down and read Sherlock Holmes, if for no other reason than to feed your imagination. Such short stories as The Red- Head League and a Scandal in Bohemia are sure to brighten your day, sharpen your mind and have as big of an influence on you as it has on the past 100 years of forensic science.
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