Murder House: Techniques

How Do They Do That?

We are endlessly fascinated by the people who bring criminals to justice. Everything from the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, through movies like Silence of the Lambs to the weekly television drama of the C.S.I. series, let us feed our appetite for information about how professional investigators do their job. Unfortunately, these are rarely accurate portrayals of how these professionals use their considerable skills.

During their training at Nebraska Wesleyan University, students get some practical tips on methods used to collect evidence. The video clips on the right are some basic “how to’s” explaining how real C.S.I. professionals do their jobs without much of the fancy, glamorized equipment and gizmos seen on T.V. dramas.

Clip 1: It’s pretty easy to lift a shoe print off of a hard surface, but what about carpet? Sgt. Larry Barksdale of the Lincoln, Nebraska Police Department demonstrates.


Clip 2: Analyzing a blood spatter is one of the most fascinating parts of CSI work. Sgt. Erin Sims and Sgt. Barksdale with the Lincoln Nebraska Police Department crime lab explain how to “read” the patterns of blood drops at the scene of the crime.

Clip 3: Using DNA has revolutionized law enforcement by identifying suspects and the victims of crime. Belinda Potter, a crime lab technician with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, explains what happens in a police DNA lab.


Clip 4: Sgt. Gary Plank of the Nebraska State Patrol has a special skill. As a Crime Scene Analyst, he’s one of the best at in the country at ‘profiling’ criminals based on what’s been found at the scene of the crime. In this video, Plank works with his students to determine what famous killer created a series of disturbing paintings.