The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Televisual forensics on the edge of chaos: post-genomic complexity in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Televisual forensics on the edge of chaos: post-genomic complexity in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Televisual forensics on the edge of chaos: post-genomic complexity in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
This essay examines the discourse on scientific knowledge in the forensic crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000–), in ways that complicate the common assumption that its science only offers conservatively straightforward answers and simple solutions. Through close textual readings, and comparative historic genre analysis of The Expert (BBC, 1968–76), Quincy M.E. (NBC, 1976–83) and Silent Witness (BBC, 1996), the essay maps the residual, dominant and emergent scientific discourses in CSI. It is argued that the programme simultaneously engages with traditional biological frameworks, investments in essentialist and determinist genetics, and a newly emergent postgenomic structure of feeling that expresses an amplified sense of complexity and indeterminacy, presumably produced by an increasingly perceptive scientific gaze. The analysis closely examines CSI's traditional depiction of science as a visual practice and its new dynamic use of microscopic imagery; its formulaic episodic format and unusual use of uncertain flashbacks; as well as its perhaps surprising tendency to feature plotlines about random deaths. By thus considering the series’ generic formal conclusions, as well as its innovative elements, the multiplicity of CSI's discourse on science becomes more apparent. The essay concludes that scientific order is depicted as existing ‘on the edge of chaos’: at least momentarily articulating the impossibility of complete certainty and order.
0036-9543
64-80
Bull, Sofia
67e74291-8c1f-409e-8c84-0416544992b7
Bull, Sofia
67e74291-8c1f-409e-8c84-0416544992b7

Bull, Sofia (2015) Televisual forensics on the edge of chaos: post-genomic complexity in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Screen, 56 (1), Spring Issue, 64-80. (doi:10.1093/screen/hjv002).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This essay examines the discourse on scientific knowledge in the forensic crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000–), in ways that complicate the common assumption that its science only offers conservatively straightforward answers and simple solutions. Through close textual readings, and comparative historic genre analysis of The Expert (BBC, 1968–76), Quincy M.E. (NBC, 1976–83) and Silent Witness (BBC, 1996), the essay maps the residual, dominant and emergent scientific discourses in CSI. It is argued that the programme simultaneously engages with traditional biological frameworks, investments in essentialist and determinist genetics, and a newly emergent postgenomic structure of feeling that expresses an amplified sense of complexity and indeterminacy, presumably produced by an increasingly perceptive scientific gaze. The analysis closely examines CSI's traditional depiction of science as a visual practice and its new dynamic use of microscopic imagery; its formulaic episodic format and unusual use of uncertain flashbacks; as well as its perhaps surprising tendency to feature plotlines about random deaths. By thus considering the series’ generic formal conclusions, as well as its innovative elements, the multiplicity of CSI's discourse on science becomes more apparent. The essay concludes that scientific order is depicted as existing ‘on the edge of chaos’: at least momentarily articulating the impossibility of complete certainty and order.

PDF
Screen_Televisual Forensics.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (234kB)

More information

Published date: 11 March 2015
Organisations: Film

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 385594
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/385594
ISSN: 0036-9543
PURE UUID: 51903c1b-6d66-4bf2-9784-107ce4137554

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 02 Mar 2016 14:12
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 19:55

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×