What to watch: Here’s how to catch a criminal

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Tune in to Forensics and discover all the scientific methods used to solve criminal investigation

Have you ever wondered what’s the science behind catching criminals – or just how the professionals get the job done with only a few clues? 

Forensics, a new show starting on CBS Justice (DStv channel 170) this month delves deeper and shows you all the secrets of the trade. Cue drama and suspense! The show revolves around the use of scientific methods to solve criminal investigations. Host Simon Morton tells us all about it.

You were initially a radio presenter on a technology-science show as well as a TV travel-show host. With its serious subject matter, this show is quite a change. How has it been for you?

It was very different in the beginning. There wasn't really a lot of bandwidth for humour and personality to come through, which I did struggle with initially but then as soon as you start to engage with the content and what's happened, it's quite easy to be respectful around how you present the material.

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A lot of people seem to have a real fascination with true crimes. What’s your opinion on that?

Yes, it does seem to be something that people are really interested in right now. Just look at the true crimes podcast phenomenon and how mainstream it has become. I think people are fascinated by the fact that many of the perpetrators seem to be just ordinary people like them. I don't know whether it's voyeurism or it's intrigue. Mostly I think people are just trying to work out why humans do these things to one another.

Why should people watch this true crimes show in particular?

The main difference about Forensics is that you are exposed to all the new techniques and cutting-edge scientific methods that go into solving crimes faster.

What message comes out of the show?

For me, it was the fact that if you're going to commit a crime, there is a community of people out there who work tirelessly to make sure you will be charged. I liked getting an insight into those communities and how they work and the investment they make, both emotionally and physically.

Did you find these cases played on your psyche?

I was protected somewhat from being too close. However, there were those on the production team who were a lot closer to the families of the victims and many of them received counselling because it was very tough for them to relive these crimes.

Are the cases featured recent or unsolved cases from years ago?

Most are fairly recent cases that are solved as a result of specific forensic evidence that is discovered.

What did you find out about forensics that interested you the most?

It was definitely environmental DNA, which is a new frontier I found really fascinating. It revolves around the idea that you can go into an environment and harvest airborne DNA and sequence that and work out quickly what species was physically there, as well as find out other information such as racial profiling and more. They use it in New Zealand rivers now, where they put a sensor into a river to detect what species are living there. It’s amazing.

Has your foray into forensics made you keen to do more shows like this?

No, not really. I’m currently setting up a bakery where I intend to bake sourdough bread for a living. I do, however, still train scientists on how to deal with the media.

Watch Forensics on CBS Justice (DStv channel 170) on Sundays at 20:00 from 4 April.

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