Discuss ways in which the media have affected our perceptions of the reality of criminal investigation.
I think that most people think they know a lot more about the process now. In some ways, I would say the public actually is more informed about police and legal procedure. Television shows like CSI and Law and Order do tend to jazz up and speed up the process though.
This is a great question. There are several ways in which we have been shaped by the media when it comes to criminal investigations. Let me name two.
First, due to shows like CSI, many people believe that the smallest clues and forensic details are the keys to all investigations. This is patently false. Although these details are important, often times they do not play the most determinative roles. In fact, many cases do not even bring these points up.
Second, due to the nature of crime investigations show, we might believe all cases are very interesting. Not all crimes have interesting twists. All you need to do is serve on jury duty once to realize that most cases are not interesting.
In short, reality is far less interesting than the movie.