CSI: Miami “Urban Hellraisers”

QUESTION: Observe and describe how the forensic scientists in CSI: Miami Season 4 Episode 9 (“Urban Hellraisers”) use evidence and proofs (artistic and inartistic) to locate the criminal(s).

In the criminal analysis, I believe there was a good mix of inartistic and artistic material throughout the episode. When it comes to CSI, there’s a lot that goes into it, most of which everyday people are not aware of. I’ll start off with the inartistic content.

Cotton swab tests are the glorified way of solving the case (at least it seems) in this episode. These tests are always done in society, either for HIV testing, picking up foreign materials or testing DNA. At one point, Mr. Wolfe, the forensic specialist, notices a watermark on the bottom of the duffel bag that contains the tampered cash. He takes a cotton swab, rubs it on the crystallized area and runs a test on the make up of the crystals. All of which are factual and true. They run the test and find out that the water is actually a coolant that’s used in ice rinks. The plot thickens.

For the most part, this episode does a good job sticking to factual and realistic material such as cotton swabbing evidence or scanning the robbers mask to identify its’ facial structure. However, in the beginning after the robbery, the team takes a look at the surveillance video outside of the bank. They see the car and the robbers getting out. However, through the pixelated footage, they notice a sticker on the windshield of the car. Now, normally this would be impossible to make out, especially considering the fact that the robbers look like pixelated people, almost like Minecraft characters. The detectives zoom in on the camera footage and somehow, like finding an needle in a haystack, they can read exactly what it says on the sticker. This is where it jumps the shark.

I’m sorry but that scene was completely designed by the writers to advance the plot and make the story compelling. It was a wise artistic move, especially considering it would be their only advancement to find the robbers. Without that little “jump”, the episode would probably have to be rewritten.

Then again, this is TV and I don’t want to point out how unrealistic an episode is. That’s no fun.

NOTE: Grasping work that involved artistic and inartistic material was a bit tough. However, I decided to challenge myself and see what I could come up with. Enjoy!


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