Judge Dylan Charles uses a cutting edge manual typewriter for his reviews.
Real detectives and cutting edge forensic technology join forces to catch a killer
I have a fondness for crime shows like Forensic Files on TruTV and Snapped on Oxygen (which focuses on women criminals). No fiction for me, I just want the facts. So I was interested to find out about A&E's latest whack at a crime show, Crime 360, 'cause hell, I don't see enough murders on the TV as it is.
How does Crime 360 stack up with other crime shows? Grab your Luminol and a UV light and let's find out!
Facts of the Case
Crime 360 is similar to 48 Hours in that it follows an investigation in progress. However Crime 360 is heavily focused on forensics, as well as the usual investigative work. There are also a lot of CGI graphics flying around, with lots of recreated crime scenes and badly animated re-enactments.
There are 11 episodes total on three discs…
Crime 360 follows a crime at the moment that law enforcement becomes involved: the 911 call. From there, we are introduced to the lead detective and the many others who are involved in law enforcement, from the medical examiner to the forensics technicians to the captain in charge of homicide.
Crime 360 followed two different police departments around: Richmond, Virginia, and Cleveland, Ohio. All things considered, I preferred the episodes that took place in Richmond and not just because I've actually been in Richmond and got giddy every time I saw a place I'd been. Because Richmond is a smaller city, it has a smaller police force (I assume). Very often I'd see the same people appear in multiple episodes. It gave the show a great deal more continuity than it might otherwise have had and gave a more complete picture of how a specific police department handles a homicide.
One of the main features of Crime 360 is the reconstructed crime scene created using the Leica scanning system. Both the Cleveland and Richmond police departments create a three-dimensional scan of the crime-scene that allows the investigators to revisit the crime scene again and again long after the body has been removed. It's an amazing tool that allows them to even stage re-enactments of what the investigators believed to have happened.
Of course, the show's producers couldn't just leave it at that. They started to use CGI for damn near everything. It makes sense to show things like the path of a bullet as it makes its way through the body, but maybe only once or twice…not several times. The audience gets the point when the M.E. says the bullet entered through the back of the skull. Is it really necessary to zoom in on a digital vial of blood and then on the cells in the blood and then on the DNA in the blood to illustrate the fact that they're looking for DNA?
The show doesn't just rely on the fancy computers, however. It showcases a lot of the technology and techniques the police department uses, from interrogations to fingerprint analysis to ballistics analysis. For me, the best part of the show is the wide variety of techniques depicted, rather than focusing entirely on any one aspect of detecting.
I rarely, if ever, felt lost during the course of a case. The show is well-edited, allowing the viewer to go from point A to point B without getting lost along the way. The cases do tend to blur together, but it seems a bit unfair to tell Richmond PD to go out there and find some more interesting murders for the sake of entertaining me.
A&E has stuck in a couple of extra videos with the set, but as with their release of Intervention these bonus videos are already available online. It would have been nice to see some exclusive content.
Aside from an almost disturbing fixation on CGI, Crime 360 does an admirable job of showing police work from alpha to omega. Never before have I seen how truly difficult, sometimes next to impossible, it is to solve a crime. My hat is off to the fine men and women of the Cleveland and Richmond police departments.
DNA evidence, ballistics, and sound detective work have cleared Crime 360 of all charges.
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