Television has a funny habit of making things appear…somewhat strange on screen.
Like hamburgers that look plump and juicy on the commercials, but are usually a lump of meat stuck to a bun. Or a hair care product that’s designed to make your locks flowing and silky, but you end up with a strange greasy-stringy combo that makes you lose a little faith in reality.
Or the Matrix. In general.
In any event, I think most people can assume that what you see on TV is not always an accurate representation of what you get in reality. For the real-life folks at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the disconnect between what’s seen on screen and what they really do is relatively distinct.
“I’ve worked at headquarters for the last ten years and I have yet to find our morgue,” says Lou N. Eliopulos, division chief for the forensic sciences divisions at NCIS. Oh and he literally wrote the book on death investigations. “We don’t have a medical examiner. We utilize the Armed Forces Medical Examiner out of Dover.”
Okay so there might not be any well-lit glass tables or plucky scientists with zany hair at NCIS headquarters, but in all honesty the real organization is far more impressive and amazing than you might think.
“We have a unique situation at NCIS because we conduct investigations around the world,” Lou explains.
All. Over. The. World. Now that’s a large area of operation.
“We encounter some unique problems trying to cover the world,” he says with a sense of patient understanding that leaves me floored. I mean, I have a hard enough time maintaining my cubicle on a weekly basis (the nerd stuff just piles up) but to be responsible for the whole planet?
There are only seven forensic investigators to cover the Earth. Seven. That’s like one agent per world wonder. It also goes without saying that the equipment has to be travel-worthy. Sometimes that travel requires the agents to go into extreme situations to gather evidence. And by extreme I mean deadly.
Like, say, in an active theater environment.