CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Show generally

New this month Factual error: The CSI doesn't prioritize cases by importance, and have samples from big cases go first like they do on the show. They don't have the lab in house like on the show. It's too expensive. They have to send samples from even the most important cases, to labs where it takes weeks to months to test DNA to keep down costs. They also have to do this to make sure DNA testing is done correctly. DNA has to be tested multiple times because mistakes can be made.

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Iced - S5-E23

Factual error: As has been noted, the problem with pressure differentials will make it impossible to flood someone's room with CO2 from sublimating dry ice anyway, but there is another problem. Dry ice sublimates at -78.5 C. That gas is going to be very, very cold and it will rapidly bring the temperature of the room down to a very uncomfortable level. Before a sleeping person suffocates they would be woken by the freezing cold.

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Overload - S2-E3

Factual error: Several problems surround the electrocution death and the investigation. First, there is the insinuation that the boots should have protected the victim from the electrocution because of the rubber soles. Regular shoes and standard work boots will not protect anyone from electric shock. You are still grounded. You have to wear special electrician's boots to insulate you from electric shock. These boots cost about triple standard work boots. Second, the CSI crew found a nail embedded in the boot. They theorized that is how the boots were grounded out. The problem there is the nail had to be pushed all the way through the sole and through the insole for it to work (the close up of the boot showed the nail in all the way). Even if the nail was barely through the insole, the victim would have felt the nail poking him at every step. With the nail all the way through, he wouldn't have even walked two steps before puncturing his foot on the nail. Third, there is the nail itself. When Grissom is examining the boots trying to find why they failed (failed to prevent the electrocution), he poses the question "What is the most common item found during construction?" The answer is a nail, and the nail in the boot appears to be a roofing nail. The construction site is for a multi-story prison. Nails aren't used in the construction of multi-story urban buildings: concrete and steel are. Carpenters come in after the building is erected and work on the interior, but the are no roofing nails.

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Rlvlk

Cool Change - S1-E2

Factual error: There are some majors problems with the "jumper's" crime scene. The girlfriend bashes the boyfriend on the back of his head. He bleeds out all over the balcony (she cleans up the blood with towels) but the body leaves absolutely no blood behind on the carpet (It's white\off white so blood would stain badly). She drags his body across the carpet and carpet fibers get stuck in his watchband by the adjustment knob. Dragging a body across the carpet would snag fibers on the opposite side. The CSI crew experiment and conclude the boyfriend was pushed. The blow to the head killed him instantly (coroner's report): therefore, the girlfriend would have dumped the body. Dumping a dead body over a rail would provide a different trajectory than pushing a live person and would not have matched their experiments. Finally, the boyfriend is fairly muscular and heavy. The girlfriend is petite. It would be an extremely difficult task to stand a lifeless body up at the balcony rail and flip him over. (If she could have lifted him up and over the rail, she should have been able to carry him to the balcony instead of dragging him.)

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Rlvlk

I-15 Murders - S1-E11

Factual error: Grissom and Catherine are looking through a microscope and discussing a microscopic specimen (heart of frozen body). In reality they would not see anything as all microscope objectives are missing on this instrument (the microscope nose-piece is totally empty.).

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Blood Drops - S1-E7

Factual error: The show falls into the Hollywood myth on polygraphs. Jesse is given a polygraph test after pleading guilty to the 4 murders. He answers all questions, except the last one, honestly. The 4 traces on the polygraph show no real movement on these questions. On the final question, Jesse lies and all 4 traces spike. If polygraphs actually did that, they would be admissible in court. But the reality is, it is the opinion of a highly trained operator that decides if there is a lie. The average person could not look at a polygraph results and point out a lie. There is no huge, visible spike. The producers could have replaced the 4 traces with a red\green light: Green is an honest answer and red a lie.

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Rlvlk

Overload - S2-E3

Factual error: In the episode where the worker got electrocuted in a construction site the main character, before replaying the victim's fall, says that "terminal velocity is 9.8 seconds squared". What he should have said was that acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 meters per second squared.

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Spark of Life - S5-E18

Factual error: Sanders is seen in the burn victim's OR, during debridement, wearing his street clothes (under a paper apron), and no mask or hat. Considering that the woman's skin is practically one continuous open wound, and her immune system is in an exceedingly fragile state, there's no way a breach of sterility like that would be allowed.

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Rooster of Doom

Overload - S2-E3

Factual error: Grissom sets up a little experiment to see if the deceased's blood is conductive to electricity. All are amazed when the blood does conduct electricity. All blood is naturally conductive. As a matter of fact, cardiac output is measured as a function of blood conductivity.

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Rlvlk

Iced - S5-E23

Factual error: The murder kills the two students by drilling a hole through the adjoining wall of the victim's room at floor level, placing 40lbs of dry ice next to the hole, and allowing the sublimating carbon dioxide to pass through the hole into the victim's room and creating a toxic atmosphere. Since the two rooms are at the same air pressure, the only possible way for the CO2 to move from one room to the next is to be pumped through. As neither room has an excessive level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the sublimating gas would fill both rooms until the CO2 levels in both rooms was the same.

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Rlvlk

Bully for You - S2-E4

Factual error: In the scene where Grissom is talking to the coroner about the bully who was shot, they talk about how the bully had "Dextrocardia" which is why all his organs are a mirror image of normality e.g. heart on right and liver on left. In actual fact Dextrocardia is only when the heart is on the right rather than left, the actual condition Grissom should have said was "Situs Inversus" not "Dextrocardia."

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Suckers - S4-E13

Factual error: Grissom sees an information card for a 17th century suit of Japanese armour (just the card, not the suit itself), and immediately deduces that the suit must actually be from the 19th century, because the Japanese military was formed in the 1860s. That military was westernised, and did not wear armour. There was nothing on the card that falsely referred to that military as being established earlier, or indicated that the suit belonged to it. There was a reference to the "military class", but that was historically correct, and meant the Samurai.

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J I Cohen

Forever - S3-E21

Factual error: Grissom does a quick analysis on the rough diamonds (chemical or laser) and immediately identifies the region of origin for the diamonds. He and Catherine then postulate that the diamonds are conflict diamonds. There is no way to identify the country or region of origin through any type of analysis. The United Nations and the world's diamond industry are looking for a way.http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/conflictdiamonds.htmhttp://pubs.acs.org/hotartcl/cenear/010212/7907sci1.htmlhttp://www.whitefirejewelry.com/wfbb/viewtopic.php?p=88&sid=b0e62206a64d98c81e53b600e053582f.

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Rlvlk

Overload - S2-E3

Factual error: When they are explaining why a nail was hammered into the electrocuted workman's boot, it is said that cars are protected from lightning strikes because they are insulated from the ground by their tires. Actually, tires conduct electricity, because they contain carbon (see: http://cartalk.cars.com/Columns/Archive/1994/November/11.html). Cars are actually protected from lightning by the Faraday Cage effect, which is explained on http://www.physics.gla.ac.uk/~kskeldon/PubSci/exhibits/E3/. Not a mistake CSI scientists would make.

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J I Cohen

Who Shot Sherlock? - S5-E11

Factual error: Brown and Stokes are investigating a mysterious fatal accident involving a Jeep and a downed power line. They state that the driver would have been safe if the Jeep had made contact with the power line because the tires would have insulated the Jeep from the electrical current. Wrong. First, a car is a Faraday cage, that is an electrical current would pass on the outside of a car on the way to the ground. As long as you don't touch the outer surface, you are safe. Second, tires are (almost always now) steel belted radials and conduct electricity nicely. Lastly, it was an open top Jeep. The power line made contact with the roll bar thereby electrifying the inner surface of the Jeep. The driver is in contact with the inner surface. This is a list, from one year from one utility company, of people that died from contact with power lines. You will see that tires exploded from the contact and some caught fire.http://www.sigalarminc.com/HistoricalNotes.htm.

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Rlvlk

Killer - S6-E15

Factual error: Brown states that silencers are not able to be purchased and are illegal. Not true. A silencer can be legally purchased providing the proper forms are completed with the ATF.

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Ian Hunt

Pirates of the Third Reich - S6-E16

Factual error: The Titan arum, corpse flower, has some problems in this episode. First, the flower grows naturally in the tropical forests of Sumatra. It is not very likely to survive sitting on a bench in the arid desert sun of Nevada. Second, Brown and Stokes track the smell of decomposing flesh to the flowers on the bench. The question is asked who would have a corpse flower besides someone trying to cover the smell of a decomposing body. To start with, none of the plants shown are flowering. The corpse flowers stench comes about when the flower opens. Then there is the rarity of the bloom itself. The botanical gardens around the world with corpse flowers make a very big event out of the bloom. Also, the bloom lasts no more than 36 hours. And then there is the stench of the bloom itself. That stench lasts no more than 8 hours. All this makes it useless to try to hide the smell of dead bodies with this plant and makes it impossible for Brown to state the plants are giving off the odor of decomp.

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Rlvlk

Ellie - S2-E10

Factual error: The treasury officer stated that the couple was from "Las Vegas County". Anyone from the government (local/county/state/federal) should know Las Vegas is in 'Clark County'. Sara (who works for LVMPD/Clark County) did not react at all.

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Season 6 generally

Factual error: In Kiss-Kiss,Bye-Bye, Stokes and Brown are watching surveillance footage when a Trans-Am pulls up on screen. They are able to get the license plate number and when they pull it up, the computer says it is a 1978 Trans Am. When looking at the rear end of the car on screen, it is from a 1979-1982 model where the licence plate was placed on the rear bumper. The 1978 model had the license plate mounted between the taillights.

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moviemogul

Chasing the Bus - S2-E18

Factual error: The CSI crew set up an experiment. They put some chloroform into the tire, set the bus on a dynamometer (or some other testing platform) and wait for the tire to fail. The tire fails in the experiment in the exact same amount of time as it did in real life. Problem: They have no idea how much chloroform was used and it would be impossible to match it by luck. More chloroform used would equal quicker failure. Then, there is the heat. The tire traveling over the hot asphalt road would build heat faster then on their testing platform. More heat would mean a quicker failure, too.

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Rlvlk

Suckers - S4-E13

Factual error: They talk about the type of tubes used in HIV tests. There are no special tubes specific for HIV testing alone. It is one generic tube that can be used for a multitude of tests including HIV. It did not seem as though Greg knew that she had gone for HIV testing before he ran the tests, so he should not have concluded that it was the type of tube used for HIV testing, only Catherine or Warrick should have made that connection.

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Nikki

Shooting Stars - S6-E4

Factual error: The CSI staff repeatedly refer to the murder weapon as a tire iron. It is a crow bar or demolition bar. It had a nail pulling head, not a socket for the lug nuts.

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Rlvlk

Who Shot Sherlock? - S5-E11

Factual error: Brown and Stokes mix up enough ballistics gel to make a life-size dummy to test their theory. The entire production (getting a mannequin, making a mold from the mannequin, etc,.) takes place in one shift. Ballistics gel needs to cool in a fridge, or on ice, (32-41°F) overnight. That alone eliminates the possibility that it was done in one shift. http://www.recguns.com/Sources/XD3.html.

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Rlvlk

Shooting Stars - S6-E4

Factual error: When Captain Brass is in the travel agency and talking to the woman who works there, they access the last bookings taken by the victim. 4 lines up from the bottom, "Bob R" seems to have booked a return trip to Paris in Germany, when in fact Paris is in France.

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To Halve and to Hold - S1-E14

Factual error: When Gris and Teri are looking at the bones that were found in the desert and discussing an electric saw, Teri is talking about the medial condyle of the femur but the bone they are looking at is the tibia (seen by the flatness of the tibial plateau - the femoral condyles are much more rounded, and the triangular shape of the shaft of the bone). It makes no difference to the story but having gone to the lengths to get the scaphoid and cuneform in the right place, it would have been nice not to get two major bones, that look completely different, mixed up.

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Kill Me If You Can - S9-E15

Factual error: When Nick picks up the contact lens from the PI's body, you can tell from the way it bends while he is holding it with the forceps that it is soft and pliable, as if it had just come out of the eye. However, after 6-12 hours outside of an eye or a contact case (the amount of time David says the PI has been dead), a soft contact will dry out and become wrinkled and hard.

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Guy

Show generally

Factual error: In a number of episodes people are shown eating and drinking in the laboratories. For instance, in "Miss Willows' Regrets" Nick and Greg are seen eating fried chicken in the lab, and in "Overload" Sara eats a sandwich while watching Grissom experiment with her deli pickle. There are other examples. No reputable laboratory (which this is supposed to be) would allow its staff to eat or drink while in the lab. It is basic scientific protocol to prevent contamination of samples or the person picking up toxins on their food.

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Chasing the Bus - S2-E18

Factual error: Sara calculates the time needed to sabotage the tire at a minute to a minute and a half. That is, remove the valve core, allow the majority of the air to escape (cannot pour anything into the tire while the air is escaping) pour in enough chloroform to sabotage the tire, replace the valve core, and air the tire to pressure. Even with an industrial air compressor, it would take over 2 minutes to air that tire to full pressure.

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Rlvlk

Fallen Idols - S7-E17

Factual error: In the scene where Hodges describes the camera glass to Grissom, he states that camera lenses are curved on one side and flat on the other for a higher refractive index. The refractive index is a property of the glass and has nothing to do with its shape. Also lenses used in cameras can have any shape to them, with even a moderately good lens in a compact camera being made of several pieces of glass with few flat surfaces. This is not modern technology in camera lenses, they have been made like this for decades. Narrowing it down to a non-compact camera by Nikon, Canon or Leica is also wrong, as all manufacturers use these techniques.

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The Fallen - S14-E19

Factual error: DB Russell gives Mark Roberts a bottle of water to hold. In the blood he leaves his fingerprint on the bottle. Stokes is watching with another policeman the CCTV footage from the interview room. Stokes then says grab a screen shot of the water bottle. They zoom in and low and behold they get a totally clear fingerprint. No way to get that much clarity from a CCTV camera.

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David Doyle

One To Go (2) - S9-E10

Factual error: At the time where they are looking into the moon and the time, they misstate the time the moon rose in 1997 and they state that the moon was waning, when it actually waxed in the middle of June in 1997.

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ExpatScott

The Lost Reindeer - S14-E11

Factual error: Jayse, the reindeer owner, states that reindeer are indigenous only to Iceland. Dead wrong, reindeer also exist in northern north America and Canada, as well as in northern Europe and northern Asia.

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Budoshi

Frame by Frame - S14-E5

Factual error: Throughout the episode, people refer to the previous murder as occurring 14 years ago. That puts it in 1999, yet we know it was in 2000, thanks to photos and other evidence.

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DavidRTurner

And Then There Were None - S2-E9

Factual error: Ballistics expert Bobby Dawson mispronounces the word "Koch" in the term "Heckler and Koch". He pronounces it "kotch" instead of the correct, "koch" (rhyming with lock0. A ballistics expert would know the correct way.

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TheHeartbreakKid15

19 Down (1) - S9-E9

Factual error: Season 9, Episode 9 - 19, "Down": Towards the end of the episode they are searching along railroad tracks. A MetroLink train passes by. MetroLink serves the greater Los Angeles area, but does not serve Las Vegas.

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Quotes

Nick Stokes: There's a sucker born every minute.
Gil Grissom: Yep, and they all come to Vegas.

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Mistakes

Season 5 Episode 18 "Spark of Life": when they show a closeup of the badly-burned woman during her debridement, it can be seen that even though her eyebrows and hair and, in fact, 90% of her skin has been burned away, she still has long, full eyelashes.

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Trivia

This episode featured a guest appearance by Tom Noonan. Noonan and series star William Petersen played villain and hero, respectively, in the film "Manhunter."

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