Stinson, V., Patry, M. W., & Smith, S. M. (2007). The CSI Effect: Reflections from police and forensic investigators. Canadian Journal of Police and Security Services, 5, 125-133.
Television shows such as CSI and Law and Order are extraordinarily popular with viewers. Recently, the media has reported on the "CSI effect", generally referring to the notion that watching these types of shows skews the public's understanding of forensic science and practice, distorts their expectations of the criminal justice system, and biases their relevant behavior. Although lawyers believe in the authenticity of this so-called CSI effect (Maricopa County, 2005) and there is evidence that legal professionals are already changing their trial strategies to compensate for this psychological phenomenon, the present research is the first to measure police professionals' opinions of the CSI effect. Results of two studies (Study 1: 127 forensic investigators; Study 2: 36 police officers) suggest that most professionals surveyed believe that these shows affect the public's perceptions of day-to-day police work, police investigations, court processes, and the legal system in general. Moreover, there is some evidence suggesting that the CSI effect is affecting the work of forensic and law enforcement professionals.