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Interesting and Fun Facts About Detective Shows Past and Present

Updated on December 1, 2018
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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.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Epithelials - One of the four basic tissues -- others are connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue. The epithelials are found in the glands and line some body cavities. There is always a joyous moment when they find epithelials, as they can now test for nuclear DNA.
  • Genetian 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
  • 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.
  • ILR - Ignitable Liquid Residue - as in left from an arson fire
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • NORA - Nothing On Record Against
  • OCME - Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
  • OU - Open Unsolved - cold case
  • 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.
  • RHD - Robbery Homicide Division
  • SHAMU- Black and white police car -- as in send a SHAMU
  • SVU - Special Victims Unit
  • Tache Noire- If the eyes remain open after death, after about 7 or 8 hours the pupils turn black.
  • UC - Under Cover
  • Unsub - Unkown Subject
  • ViCAP - Violent Criminal Apprehension Program - Unit of the FBI responsible for the analysis of serial violent crimes.
  • 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.

© 2011 Ellen Gregory

What Do You Have to Say About Crime Dramas? - Past And Present

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have to admit I don't know much about these shows. You have teased my interest.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have to admit I don't know much about these shows. You have teased my interest.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This was a fun look back down memory lane. I aced the quiz!

    • TenPoundTenor profile image


      6 years ago

      Cool lens. I've recently been on a Remington Steele kick. I'm gonna have to start watching Columbo now.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens - there are few crime dramas I love, Sherlock and Luther from the BBC being my preferences. Great work! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love this and love detective series

    • agoofyidea profile image


      6 years ago

      Columbo will always reign supreme, but I can watch them all. Great lens. Blessed!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      Nicely done lense. Had a good time here in whodunit country.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You dug deep on that quiz and well done I got 33% and 100% fun!


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