Forensic Files — A Simple, Yet Informative Source for the Marvel of Forensic Science

In Forensic Files investigators apply “fingerprint powder” to items in search for potential fingerprints to hopefully identify a suspect.

"Day 122 - West Midlands Police - Forensic Scene Investigator FSI" by West Midlands Police (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In Forensic Files investigators apply “fingerprint powder” to items in search for potential fingerprints to hopefully identify a suspect.

Forensic science is the utilization of physical and natural sciences to investigate matters of civil and criminal law, according to Merriam Webster. Forensic science operates with multiple methods for specific circumstances and evidence. Some such examples include DNA analysis to identify features of victims or suspects, toxicology or the science dealing with the uses and effects of poisons, document analysis to search for fraud or forgery, and many more.

Forensic Files originally aired in April of 1997 and concluded in June of 2011. The show entails the details of how forensics is applied to investigations. The primary focus of the investigations is criminal— solving homicides and/or kidnappings. However, the show is not entirely that— it also provides a number of other investigations dealing with strange ailments and/or diseases as well as unexplained accidents and circumstances. 

One episode, ”Killer Fog”, details the investigation of a mysterious fog that caused a massive vehicle accident where nearly 100 vechinals came into contact. The investigators mush discover whether it was a natural occurrence or that of something else. Another episode, ”Outbreak”, follows the quest to discover why 121 people in South Dakota and Minnesota have a strange ailment that had happened once before. This time, investigators would use scientific methods and instruments to unveil the cause. In addition, ”Foreign Body” circles a disease known as ”Mad-cow disease” consuming British cattle herds between 1986 and 1989. Investigators eventually suspect that this disease was linked with a human ailment.  

Medical Detectives - Full Episodes

Forensic Files presents the numerous procedures of forensics including fingerprinting and facial reconstruction. Fingerprinting specialists may manually examine any collected fingerprint samples and compare them to any suspects’ fingerprints. Fingerprint databases also search through any convicted offenders and compare to the gathered one(s). 

Forensic facial reconstruction implements both methods of anthropology and art. The two collaborate with one another to reconstruct the face of an unidentified victim and/or suspect on a skull cast. They take any information from known information about the person and also use the science of certain groups of people’s usal facial features. A recovered skull is reflected upon to estimate facial features as well.

The show also shows how investigators use accident reconstructionists to work backwards to recreate vehicular accidents. They operate with events that may have led to the accident such as speed and stop lights. Witnesses and any traffic videos or photos are used to potentially gain any context to how or why the accident came about. Gauge, tire, and skid marks can indicate speed, motion, or position of the vehicle(s) during a particular moment. Damage to the vehicle and surrounding area of the accident can also be inspected to pinpoint the region or cause of impact.  

There are 14 total seasons of Forensic Files. Episodes can be viewed for free on IMDBtv and with subscriptions to Peacock, Hulu, and Discovery Plus, among others. Although it may be difficult to find the full set of seasons, there are still a total of 406 episodes to watch and choose from, leaving audiences with masses of information to learn from and absorb. Most episodes average at around 25 minutes, making them not very time consuming, yet just as intriguing. This is also beneficial since most of the information given is foreign to most viewers and longer episodes may be overwhelming and more difficult to comprehend. The processes of the collection and analyzing of evidence, interviewing of suspects, pursuit of possible motives, and many more steps into investigations are provided in simple, yet informative language for the audience that may not be knowledgeable about them.  

For those simply intrigued by the methods and techniques of how criminal and other investigations are solved or those who are considering an occupation in a direct or related field, Forensic Files is but the start of the vast world of forensics. Although the information is fairly basic and simplified, one can obtain an extensive overview on the intricacies of the science and the minds of the incredible scientists and investigators.