CSI and forensic realism

Sarah Keturah Deutsch, Gray Cavender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


CSI has consistently been among the top rated television programs since its debut in 2000. What is the secret to its popularity? Our analysis reveals that CSI combines the traditions of television's crime genre, especially the police procedural, with a creative sense of forensic realism. CSI constructs the illusion of science through its strategic web of forensic facticity. Ironically, although CSI depicts unrealistic crimes in a melodramatic fashion, this crime drama does so in a manner that suggests that its science is valid, that the audience understands science and can use it to solve crimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-53
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • Forensic facticity
  • Police procedural
  • TV crime genre

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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