Top 6 Forensic Scientists From Pop Culture
In the last dozen or so years, forensic scientists have dominated on the airwaves and in print. The vastly successful CSI franchise has spawned a host of imitators from Criminal Minds to the Mentalist while authors like Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell have cemented the forensic expert in print. However fictional forensic scientists have been with us longer than you think. So here are the top six fictional forensic scientists based on longevity and the overall impact they’ve had on pop culture.
6. Perry Mason
Perhaps not as widely known today as he should be, this fictional lawyer/detective created by author Erle Stanley Gardner employed forensic techniques when necessary and did so in a book series that spanned 5 decades as well as a very successful TV series.
Jeff Lindsey gets ‘A’ for Originality with his tales of forensic blood splatter analyst, and serial killer, Dexter Morgan. Via a hit series of books and a TV series, pop culture is presented with a truly unique and unforgettable forensic scientist. Dexter only kills the bad guys and is able to use his knowledge of forensics to cover his steps.
4. Kay Scarpetta
Created by Patricia Cornwell, this savvy scientist has appeared in 17 novels, which have sold one heck of a lot of copies. This Miami examiner is also a gourmet chef with a restaurant-style kitchen in her custom built home. The character also hops around a bit, providing a nice tapestry of locales in which she must do her thing. As one of the keys to making the list is longevity, Scarpetta is entering her 20th year in fiction. No small feat.
3. Temperance Brennan
With 13 books penned by author and real forensic scientist, Kathy Reichs, as well as the hit Bones series, troubled book-version Brennan and her softer counterpart on TV are well on their way to carving out a large niche all their own in pop culture’s collective memory. With alcoholism a subject of the novels and breaking down the 4th wall on the show, the author and show producers are providing fans with two distinct takes on a memorable character.
For the sake of brevity, I’ve lumped the host of characters from the various incarnations of the series into one category. CSI, CSI Miami and CSI New York are enormously popular and have been for a long time. If Grissom, Caine, Taylor and the rest endure they just might give our #1 subject a run for his money.
1. Sherlock Holmes
Without question one of the (if not the most) recognized characters in pop culture, the success of Sherlock Holmes is unmatched. Mr. Holmes practiced forensic investigation before most folks knew the term. Plus the character has been hugely successful in books, magazines, in the movies, TV, radio, comics, newspapers, on the stage… everywhere pop culture exists and his popularity has only increased since in the last century or so since his creation by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Andrew Salmon writes about a variety of things including pop culture and finance topics.