With the rising success of crime-scene related television shows in recent years, and forensic science as a new hot topic in multiple settings, the world of criminal justice faces new complications as this phenomenon continues to grow. This is popularly known as “The C.S.I Effect.” Contrary to belief, much of what the public perceives, or think they know about the operations of law enforcement and the legal system, comes from television. Consequently, as these television programs appeal to greater audiences around the world, increasingly unreasonable expectations are established in the forensic world, both inside and out of the courtroom. In light of this issue, research has discussed the many television shows that have greatly influenced the public perception such as C.S.I, Dexter and Sherlock, and provides a myriad of examples, describing the inconsistencies and flaws that these shows are able to portray in the span of a 40-minute program time slot. With each example, the correct methods, linguistics and techniques that are used in real-world investigations will be explained and the efficiency they provide to criminal cases. Throughout this research, the extension of the C.S.I Effect will be discussed, as well as its impact on a student’s decision in choosing a major in Forensic Science- are they truly satisfied with their choice or disappointed by the reality? Comparative analysis of the C.S.I Effect in the courtroom will be presented, as well as the controversy behind such a theory, will also be discussed at length. The goal of this research is to determine any empirical evidence behind the commonly-held belief that juror expectations for forensic evidence are linked to watching law-related television shows and if there can or cannot be anything to fix this detrimental issue.


Forensic Science, CSI Effect, Forensic Education

Document Type


Year of Completion



Forensic Science


Keri Wyllie

Academic Department

Department of Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics