15 December 2011

CSI Episode Features Genealogical Research

Series: 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'
Episode Title: 'Genetic Disorder'
Episode Number: 1210
Synopsis: "When the body of a naked dead man is discovered by Dr. Robbins' wife in their master bedroom, it leads to a lot of questions for the CSI team."
Original Airdate: December 14, 2011

Some of you may know that I’m a devotee of this program. I have watched every episode, either in real time or on a delayed basis using my digitial video recorder. The synopsis for this episode gave no hint that the plot line would revolve around genealogy. Imagine my surprise when the victim was identified as a genealogist.

It turns out that he was conducting genealogical research for the wife of a cast member (Dr. Robbins, the ME). He was killed in their home, making her a suspect.

The plot twists and turns as the CSI personnel figure out who the victim was, why he was killed in that particular setting, what he was working on, and, of course, who “done it.”

I won’t give away any plot points, in case you haven’t seen the episode yet. But I do want to comment on the genealogical content. The dead genealogist was a partner in a genealogical research service, and the CSI members spent considerable time interviewing and working with his partner, Dr. Sylvia Sloane (played by Bahar Soomekh). The first contact with her comes in a cemetery where she is giving a demonstration of headstone rubbing. Everything she says seems to be OK with current thinking about this activity.

Later, she assists one of the CSI agents in tracking down some people who eventually figure in the solution to the case. One scene supposedly was set in an archives with lots of file cabinets, which they proceed to look through.

There is lots of “gee whiz” forensic science in the episode, as we all have come to expect from this series, but more than a third of the running time did involve genealogy to one extent or other, including discovery of some rather improbable—to me—family relationships.

If you are a CSI buff, if you are interested in genealogy, and if you missed the presentation last night, watch for it when re-runs come around. I predict that it will be one of the more popular episodes.