Forensic Firsts

Forensic Firsts is a TV series that talks about the different technology and tools that are used to catch criminals. They also talk about how the technology and tools work. It gives an inside view of how detectives solve cases.

Sunday 9:00 PM et/pt on Smithsonian Channel
2 Seasons, 7 Episodes
June 17, 2012
Crime, Drama, Family, Mystery
Cast: Erik Thompson, Craig Layton, Rebecca Lamarche
Forensic Firsts

Forensic Firsts Full Episode Guide

  • The history of forensic botany, which began during the 1935 trial of Bruno Hauptmann, who was accused of kidnapping Charles Lindbergh's baby. Also: a case that relied on plant evidence found in a man's truck to convict him of a murder.

  • Revisit two criminal cases where ballistic evidence determined the fate of its suspects. One case saved a man from the electric chair while the other ended a sniper's murderous rampage.

  • A string of unexplained deaths at a Northport, New York hospital in the 1990s and the suspicious death of a wealthy businessman in the 1840s have one thing in common: poison. These sensational cases, 150 years apart, are landmark moments in the history of forensic toxicology.

  • Two brutal murder cases, years apart, appear to have little in common. A California family found brutally murdered in 2003 and two dismembered bodies discovered in Scotland in 1935. Upon closer investigation, they share the same silent witness: insects.

  • It's harder and harder to get away with murder. Today, detectives are catching and convicting more criminals than ever before, thanks to enormous leaps in forensic science. Fingerprints, bones, hair and genetic markers are now forms of indisputable evidence, but that wasn't always the case. Revisit the most dramatic murder mysteries in history and see how forensic tools forever changed the way crimes are solved.

  • One crime baffled a small Argentina town; the other held the entire state of California hostage. The thread that links these two cases occurring 100 years apart: both murderers were done in by their own hand. Specifically, by their fingerprints. Witness the breakthrough moment in 1982 when fingerprinting was first used to track down a child killer and see how the evolving science helped thwart a coldblooded serial killer a century later. Then follow the bloody trail of a serial killer dubbed the Night Stalker and discover how detectives nabbed him with powders, hand-held lasers, and a stroke of luck.

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