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Interesting and Fun Facts About Detective Shows Past and Present
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?
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
- 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.
For further reading here are some links to more in depth studies of forensics and the criminal justice system
- The National Criminal Justice Reference Service
A US government service that lists seminars, classes, and other resources in criminal justice.
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
U.S. government publications and statistics on crime and victims
- Department of Forensic Science George Washington University
Information on classes and programs related to forensic science.
© 2011 Ellen Gregory