“Timing and the Move Toward Good CSI”

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman by O.J. Simpson. There will be all kinds of media stories about what happened that day, night, and at the subsequent criminal and civil trials.

But let’s look at one of the lessons that came out of the January 24-October 3, 1995 Simpson criminal trial: the need for proper crime scene investigation by the police. After defense DNA experts Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld tore apart the LAPD’s evidence-gathering methodology, police departments across the country — including LA’s — significantly upgraded their CSI capabilities, in terms of not only equipment, but also training.

On October 6, 2000, precisely five years and three days after the acquittal of Mr. Simpson in the criminal trial, CBS unveiled the original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” series. Suddenly, the public couldn’t get enough CSI and a number of spin-offs quickly made their way to the airwaves.

Notice the pattern: Simpson acquitted, police departments improve their CSI, and suddenly we have a slew of “CSI” TV shows. As I have often said, “Timing is everything.” Dates are important. They explain not only what happened — but why.



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