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Interesting and Fun Facts About Detective Shows Past and Present

Updated on April 22, 2022
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I have acquired a few skills along the way. If I am able to help someone else with these skills, I am more than happy to share.

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Are You Watching The New Forensic Television Shows?

The new forensic crime dramas are very different from the old detective shows. The forensic shows have a language all their own. At first, I would think "they said what?"

Maybe I have been watching too many crime shows on television, as I am beginning to understand all their abbreviations and acronyms.

For your viewing enjoyment, I am going to share those fun facts with you.

There a few quizzes to lighten the mood --just for fun.

What's your favorite type of crime fighting show?

See results

The Crime Fighters Dictionary - After Years of Watching I Know What These Are

For your viewing enjoyment a dictionary to translate what is being said on the crime fighting and forensic shows.

  • ABHAN - Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature
  • ACISS - Augmented Criminal Investigation Support System - A database of a vast amount of information searchable in criminal investigations.
  • AFIS - Automated Fingerprint Identification System. A system that has a database of fingerprints and automated search capabilities. Used by many local law enforcement groups. (See IAFIS)
  • Amido Black 10B - is a dye that stains the proteins in blood and is used for finding latent finger prints.
  • APB - All Points Bulletin
  • A/R - Armed Robbery
  • B & E - Breaking and Entry
  • BAU - Behavioral Analyst Unit
  • BOLO - Be On the Look Out
  • BPA - Bloodstain Pattern Analysis -- the way the blood at a crime is found (See LVIS, MVIS, HVIS)
  • CAPS - Crimes Against Persons
  • CBP - Customs and Border Patrol
  • CID - Criminal Investigation Department
  • CO - Corrections Officer
  • CODIS - stands for Combined DNA Index System. It is a national database, for federal, state and local DNA to be stored in.
  • CSI - Crime Scene Investigator
  • CSU - Crime Scene Unit
  • CUPPI - (rhymes with puppy) - Cause Undetermined Pending Police Investigation
  • DNA -Deoxyribonucleic acid- All living organisms have these "instructions" in them, in order to function. Often, on a TV show you will hear someone say "we got a hair but without the root, we can only test for mitochondrial DNA". This would be versus nuclear DNA.
  • DOA - Dead on Arrival
  • DUI - Driving Under the Influence
  • DUII - Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants
  • DWAI- Driving While Ability Impaired
  • DWI - Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated
  • ELISA -Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay- Used to test if certain anti-bodies are present in the blood.
  • EIA - Is the same as ELISA
  • Epithelial - One of the four basic tissues -- others are connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue. The epithelial cells are found in the glands and line some body cavities. There is always a joyous moment when they find epithelial cells, as they can now test for nuclear DNA.
  • FTIR -Fourier Transfer Infrared spectroscopy - is an analytical technique used to identify inorganic, polymeric, and in some cases, organic material.
  • Gentian Violet - is a purple stain used for staining specimens in a lab for identification. It is also a topical antiseptic. For forensic purposes it many be used to enhance and bring out fingerprints from and item. For example: staining the sticky part of duct tape to bring out the fingerprints.
  • GOA - Gone on arrival
  • GSR - Gun Shot Residue --- the residue from the muzzle of a gun when it's fired. The further the bullet travels the less residue on the victim
  • GSW - Gun shot wound
  • HSI - Homeland Security Investigations
  • I.A. -Internal Affairs. The group within the police department that investigates police conduct
  • IAFIS - The FBI's automated database for fingerprints, mug shots and criminal profiles. It stands for Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. It is available to all law enforcement groups to search.
  • ICP Test - Inductively Coupled Plasma - used to detect metals and some non-metals. For crime purposes, to test for heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury.
  • ILR - Ignitable Liquid Residue - as in left from an arson fire
  • JDLR - Just Doesn't Look Right - A notation on a fire when an person in law enforcement senses something isn't righ
  • Lands and Grooves - Lands are the raised areas between the grooves on a bullet. This makes a pattern connecting a particular bullet to a particular gun.
  • LIBS- Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy- High speed chemical analysis process
  • LNU - Last Name Unknown - Used in courts when a person's name is not known. It is the court version of John Doe.
  • LUDs - Local Usage Details - referring to telephone call usage
  • Luminol- A chemical used by forensics to detect blood residue. It luminesces when it contacts the iron in the hemoglobin
  • LVIS, MVIS, HVIS - Low Velocity Impact Splatter; Medium Velocity Impact Splatter; and High Velocity Impact Splatter. Bullets would cause HVIS.
  • LWOP - Life Without Parole
  • MO - Modus Operandi - mode of operating. The pattern the criminal follows
  • Morpho - is the name of a company that has technologies for fingerprint, facial and iris identification. Thus, you will hear, on a forensic show, "we checked Morpho for the palm print".
  • M-Vac - Is a copyrighted name of a system used to collect DNA on surfaces where it was previously difficult to collect.
  • NCIC - National Crime Information Center - A national database that alerts law enforcement about missing people, stolen merchandise and automobiles.
  • NCMEC - National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • NORA - Nothing On Record Against
  • OCME - Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
  • OMVI - Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired
  • OSI - Office of Special Investigation (United States Air Force)
  • OU - Open Unsolved - cold case
  • OUI - Operating Under the Influence
  • OVI - Operating a Vehicle Impaired (Ohio)
  • OWI - Operating While Intoxicated
  • PCR - Polymerase Chain Reaction - is a method used when a DNA sample is small. It amplifies the sample.
  • Perp- Perpetrator -- the person who committed the crime.
  • Prussian Blue Test - Water, sodium hydroxide and ferrous sulphate are added to stomach contents and heated. If the mixture turns blue, it indicates the presence of cyanide.
  • RAPD-Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA - DNA fragments amplified by PCR
  • RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • RFLP_ Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis- DNA sample broken into pieces
  • RHD - Robbery Homicide Division
  • RIA - Radio immuno assay - a method used to the blood (for drugs)
  • SHAMU- Black and white police car -- as in send a SHAMU
  • SOCO - Scene Of the Crime Officer
  • SODDI Defense - Some Other Dude Did It
  • SVU - Special Victims Unit
  • SWAT - Special Weapons And Tactics
  • Tache Noire- If the eyes remain open after death, after about 7 or 8 hours the pupils turn black.
  • TEU - Tactical Enforcement Unit - The name given to Colorado's SWAT team.
  • UC - Under Cover
  • UFAP - Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution
  • Unsub - Unknown Subject
  • ViCAP - Violent Criminal Apprehension Program - Unit of the FBI responsible for the analysis of serial violent crimes. Crime scene data and relevant facts are entered into a database and other similar crimes across the country are matched to it.
  • VIC - Victim
  • VMD - Vacuum Metal Deposition - is a way of finding fingerprints on non-porous surfaces. One example the object being test is put in a tank and gold is evaporated which sticks to any prints. Then zinc is evaporated and stick to the gold showing the print.
  • XRF -X-Ray Fluorescence - is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Ellen Gregory


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