Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How Sherlock Changed the World: Forensics

How Sherlock Changed the World
by Travis Simpkins

     Narrated by Andrew Lincoln, created by PBS, How Sherlock Changed the World (2013) is an intriguing two-part TV series that delves into the advances in criminal and forensic science investigations brought about by the ideas dispatched through Sherlock Holmes... the fictional 19th Century detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The documentary looks at the origins of the Holmes character, inspired by Doyle's real-life mentor, Dr. Joseph Bell. Much emphasis in pointed at how far ahead of their time Holmes' theories of deductive reasoning and forensic science really were, with the first forensics lab being utilized in 1935, nearly 50 years after Doyle's stories were published. Careful insight is given by contemporary forensic investigators, including the renowned Dr. Henry Lee, who explain how their love of the Sherlock Holmes stories still inspires their approach to modern crime scene analysis. Real-life cases are used, displaying how influential the process really is. From latent evidence to ballistics, many ideas were indeed conjured up by Doyle long before they were put to general use. Of particular interest are the parts that relate directly to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who later in life took on an investigation of his own, and worked diligently to help create the modern appeal system to clear those that were wrongly convicted through lack of proper evidence. The series also looks at popular depictions of the character, including that of Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC's Sherlock. The short documentary series is well worth the 110 minutes. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Dr. Henry Lee

Dr. Henry Lee

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

a scene from "How Sherlock Changed the World"