Superfreaks/ACRA: The Ten Jobs of Edward Bailey

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Wed Jan 9 17:50:39 PST 2008

In early episodes of CSI, there was just one lab guy who did just
about everything.  It didn't take them long to realize how unrealistic
this was and now there are six recurring characters in the lab all
with different duties.  The other two CSIs tend to focus more on the
detectives and in each case there is only one lab person (a woman on
Miami) who actually gets any lines.  Realistically, though, we're
talking about a lot of very different jobs.

1. Ballistics expert.  Ballistics experts are able to determine what
kind of gun fired a given bullet.  They can identify the make of gun
from a witness's description.  They can even match a bullet to a gun
by firing another bullet from the gun and comparing the bullets.  On
CSI, there is a ballistics expert in the lab but on the other two CSIs
the CSIs do their own analysis.

2. Fingerprint expert.  It's hard to get fingerprints off of some
surfaces.  Then you have to match the fingerprints to police databases
or immigration databases or whatever database includes fingerprints.
CSI has a woman who does this but on the other two CSIs the CSIs do
this themselves.

3. DNA profiler.  Obviously if you can match your suspects DNA with
DNA found at the scene then you can place him at the crime.  Or maybe
you can find the victim's DNA on the suspects clothes.  By examining
DNA, you can also narrow down who the suspect is by establishing, for
example, that he is a close relative to the victim.  It's also pretty
easy for them do distinguish men from women by just looking at the
chromosomes.  Sometimes genetic abnormalities tell them something
important too.

4. Trace analysis.  The suspect had mud on his shoe.  Turns out that
the mud had traces of manure which places the suspect on a farm.  A
cute trick on all the CSIs is to match carpet fibres with fibres from
a "carpet fibre database".  By the time it dawns on you that such a
database probably does not actually exist online the suspect has
already been captured and arrested.

5. Toxicologist.  The suspect was poisoned.  Okay.  But with what?
When?  For how long?  What was the dosage?  And who has access that
particular poison.  They have somebody on CSI who's job it is to
answer these questions.  The other two CSIs just have "the results
come back".

6. Data recovery and enhancement.  How dumb is it that the same guy on
CSI: New York who does trace and DNA is also called upon to recover
data and enhance video?  So... what?  He's got degrees in biochemistry
AND computer science?  CSI has always had this done by a separate
guy.  He specializes in recovering data from damaged hard drives and
enhancing video so you can get a better look at the suspect's face.

7. Computer simulations.  The CSIs on CSI and CSI: Miami do computer
simulations.  Again, this is dumb: we all know that by the time you've
got a computer simulation to work the suspect would have already fled
the country.  On CSI: NY it's the lab guy who does computer
simulations which is a bit better because he's also a computer expert.

8. Document and handwriting analysis.  It is sometimes important to be
able to prove that documents are authentic, say for example suicide
notes or wills or anything that may inciminate a suspect.  On CSI: NY
they made a point of having somebody who was not a recurring character
come in and do an analysis.  Another cute trick is when they are able
to match a document to the printer or photocopier it came from.

9. Explosives expert.  Lieutenant Caine on CSI: Miami started out as
an explosives expert.  His background comes in handy because they like
to blow stuff up on that show.

10. Entymologist.  The head CSIs on CSI and CSI: NY know a lot about
bugs: where they come from, what they eat, how long it takes for them
to digest a corpse.  This helps to establish when a crime took place,
which is important because you want to be able to ask where the
suspect was at the time.

11. Counterfeiting expert.  Technically paper money is a document and
the same guy who examines documents can determine if money is
counterfeit.  Thing is, counterfeiting is a federal offense and every
season of CSI: Miami has had them bring in an FBI specialist to
confirm that the money is indeed counterfeit and do an investigation
to try to determine the extent to which the money had been
circulated.  This would be outside of Edward's jurisdiction.

12. Medical examiner.  When I say "medical examiner" here I mean the
person who does the actual autopsies.  CSI: NY has three recurring
characters who are medical examiners and CSI has two, although David's
job is basically to declare the body dead at the scene and bring it to
the morgue where the actual autopsy takes place.  On CSI: Miami the
medical examiner is a woman: she was a bit chubby in the first season
and was only seen in the morgue but she's lost weight in subsequent
seasons and spends more time in the field.  Come to think of it, CSI:
Miami now has three large breasted, otherwise skinny female characters
who spend a lot of time bending over looking at things while wearing
tight fighting outfits.  Whoever directs that show is a sick pervert
and I guess I'm a sick pervert too for noticing. :)

In short, this is intended as a disclaimer: I know that having Edward
do ten different jobs in Superfreaks is unrealistic but, guess what,
there's a guy just like him on CSI: NY so there!


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