5 Forensic Details TV Gets Wrong

Do you hear that? It’s a song by The Who, playing very faintly in the distance. While shows like CSI and Cold Case are fascinating for their drama and entertaining relationships, they don’t always get the details correct when it comes to forensic and DNA testing procedure. Test Smartly Labs is a certified DNA testing provider that knows the ins and outs of forensic testing. Let’s take a look at five details TV often gets wrong: 

Wrong: Lab Results Are Instantaneous

Whether you’re trying to catch a killer or waiting on the results of a paternity test, no DNA test has instant results. Rapid results on crime dramas come from hour-long episode lengths, not accurate representations of the testing process. There are some technologies in the works to speed up the time it takes to process DNA samples, but they’re not 100% approved just yet. You’re going to have to practice some patience before you receive your results.

Wrong: Blood Glows Under UV Light

Out of all the bodily fluids to glow blue under UV light, blood is not one of them. Semen, breast milk, saliva, and urine will all appear as advertised on television, but blood turns black, so dark it looks like tar and extremely difficult to spot. Sometimes the detectives will use luminol, which is a chemical that will make blood glow blue, but it’s not a perfect science. The fluorescent glow caused by the chemical reaction only lasts a few seconds so scientists need to know exactly where the spatter where will be, spray, and take a picture in a matter of moments.

Wrong: There is Always Blood Spatter

We mention that investigators will need to know exactly where the blood is when they are testing because there is never as much blood as you think there will be. Unless the victim has a serious head wound, extreme blood loss from an exterior wound is rare. Hollywood loves to embellish, and blood is one of its favorite mediums.

Wrong: DNA will Solve Everything, Every Time

There could be multiple explanations for someone’s DNA being in a certain situation and sometimes DNA is not the end all-be all answer. DNA is the answer to many questions, and sometimes there can be many answers in one place.  DNA is extremely useful in immigration cases to determine familial relationships, and it can even be used to learn more about your family’s past. But in a criminal case, DNA is not always the magic key that holds all the answers.

Wrong: There are Always Fingerprints to Bust the Case Wide Open

TV loves to tell us that fingerprints will solve every case. However, fingerprints in real life can be difficult to gather and don’t always provide the answers needed. Partial prints are more often found that whole prints, and pulling a fingerprint off a firearm is never as easy as they make it look in the show.

Hopefully, you’ll never need DNA testing for a criminal case. DNA can be used for many different things and Test Smartly Labs takes samples for many of those tests. Contact us today!

Test Smartly Labs provides confidential, accurate DNA tests. To learn more about our DNA Testing Services, contact Test Smartly Labs today at (816) 800-9699. We have five lab locations in the greater Kansas City area!

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