There may be some folks out there who don’t understand that the way things happen in television drama is not necessarily the way they happen in real life. Maybe never.

For instance, we have all sorts of “CSI” (crime scene investigator) shows on television. These programs are of a forensic nature. They combine art and science where a drama is developed around some of the latest techniques in investigating crimes. And indeed, much of what they show about DNA and trace evidence is for real. It generally doesn’t happen as quickly as the television series’ would suggest, however. And probably the investigators in real life don’t reveal that much cleavage either.

But the greatest contrast comes in the fact that few suspects throw up their hands and admit to forensic scientists that they did the crime, how they did it and why they did it. In real life, they hire expensive lawyers and go to trial. Some of them will be found not guilty.

Of course it’s difficult to get all of this into a 60-minutes television show. And so they have to fast forward a lot of the detail.

And though we have high speed chases all over America, they seldom come across like they do on television. Take those motorcycle guys who are being chased through downtown. All of a sudden they go airborne and clear three or four parked cars. That can only happen on television because what you don’t see is that someone set up a ramp for the motorcycle guy. In real life, without that ramp, the front wheel of his motorcycle hits the rear of the car, stops abruptly and the rider is hurled through the air and dangles from the awning of a department store two blocks down the street. Chase over.

And crooks can’t really climb down chimneys. Flue liners are not that big. Then there are dampers just above the fireplace. And typically the throat of the fireplace is not big enough to allow Santa Claus or a jewel thief to pass through. Quite often we read where some thug actually tried to get down a chimney and they had to take the house apart to get him out.

But some of the public is so gullible, they buy into the special effects and special props as real life particles.

This just in from Orlando: A man was rescued after spending six hours stuck in an oven’s exhaust vent in a convenience store he was trying to burglarize. How many times have you seen people craw through these vents in movies?

The vents they use in television drama are specially made for that movie project. The ones in real life generally are much smaller. Just ask Lonnie Shields, 37, of Orlando. After they finally cut him out of the vent, he was all banged up and scratched up from his miscalculation.

Now when he goes to court, he may even try to use something he’s seen on television as a defense. Have you seen the commercial where the accountant crawls into an air vent to retrieve his credit card statement? Of course the greatest flaws in that defense is that this suspect is not an accountant and he didn’t work at this store. Maybe he can still use “the devil made me do it” defense.

Then we have those events in the movies that may have actually been taken from real life.

In Wittenberg, Wis., a pedestrian was arrested for attacking cars in the street. He was jumping on hoods, kicking out windshields, breaking off antennas, etc.

And in this instance, it wasn’t really difficult to determine who the suspect was. No CSI experts had to come to the scene to separate the culprit from the crowd. The suspect was the only one naked. If this had happened in Chicago, we might suppose that he had just left the filming of “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Good thing he did not try to hurdle any of those cars without a ramp. He may have given new meaning to the term “hood ornament.”

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail:

Recommended for you