Forensics: The Real CSI (2019-?)

Rated 15
BBC iPlayer
Spoiler Free

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation used to be a favourite of mine, except for the spin-offs which were immediately pants, rather than slowly devolving trashy TV which ran itself into the ground. The novelty of the technical wizardry wore off and that’s largely because it was patently Hollywood bollocks. CSI became formulaic and something of a soap opera as the carousel of characters cavorted and were murdered themselves to drive the “forensic investigation”.

Why did I open a review about a British docu-series tracking true crimes minute by minute with a paragraph about glitz and glam action from the States? Contrast, but also because maybe it’ll be picked up by search engines and drive traffic to Bedsit Cinema. Full disclosure and that, I fucking love getting hits on my writing.

Forensics: The Real CSI (FtRCSI) is so very, very British, with Police Officers every bit as unglamorous but devoted as you’d hope. I did wonder how many Detectives and experts the filmmakers recorded but then struggled to edit to look normal. There’s no way they’re all this selfless and articulate and that's as polite as I can be. There’s lots of quirky, regional mispronunciation which if they weren’t (mostly) white would have subtitles.

It is incredibly clever, both as a show and because of what you’re seeing the Po-Po do. James Bond hasn’t got shit on the gadgetry the Met Police have, and he has fewer rape convictions which is a fucking miracle if you've seen any 007 escapades. FtRCSI did make me wonder what kind of budget the police have in reality, because they seem to have Hollywood levels of dollar and decisiveness here. Any true crime fanatic, of which I am one, will know that often it is a fight to get DNA and evidence properly evaluated. You wish, if you were fighting a rape charge in Birmingham back in 2020; the results are back toot sweet mon amie. Here’s your cell.

It’s mind blowing, some of the tech, and they’re almost humorously coy about the simple stuff like unlocking your phone or finding deleted files/messages. The specialists all make a solid, provable point that they can do it but also that they are not telling you how they do certain things, just that they can do it. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Like the magic circle.

It is astonishing what kind of awful offences happen with apparent randomness and lack of provocation- and I grew up in London.. Even though the crimes featured aren’t often as salacious as one might want* in FtRCSI, every episode has insight. There isn’t always the result you might want which while a bummer, given these are real crimes, does lend it weight as a show.

One tip: “No comment” in a police interview very much reads as a confession of guilt. Spill your guts out with so much conflicting crap they'll section you. Then you win. Or, just...

Bedsit it?

Don’t do crime, because if you’re caught, they’ll probably do you for it. Although that’s how I’d want my crime documentary to make people feel, too. A truly insightful and engrossing procedural television documentary. 9/10

*To paraphrase a friend of mine, “what is this missing shit, I want bodies!”. True crime fans be brutal.

Apparently true crime's market is mainly women, but that's a crock, these films show its mass appeal for better or worse. Check these reviews out!...


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