Forensic Firsts

Sunday 9:00 PM on Smithsonian Channel Premiered Jun 17, 2012 Between Seasons


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  • All (6)
  • Season 1 (6)
  • Smoking Guns

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 6 - 7/22/12

    One case saved a man from the electric chair and another put an end to a sniper's murderous rampage. Revisit two criminal cases where ballistic evidence played a key role in determining the fate of its suspects. First, Charles Stielow, a man sentenced to death for a 1915 murder, is absolved thanks to a pioneering investigation. Then, after a harrowing 22-day span in 2002, detectives in Washington D.C. finally crack the case of a sniper, relying on bullets taken from the victims' bodies.moreless
  • Proving Poison

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 5 - 7/15/12

    A rash 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. Revolutionizing crime fighting, then and now, toxicology may one day be ahead of the crime. Join our investigation as scientists, detectives and criminal historians trace the poisonous compounds and indispensable tools of crime fighting.moreless
  • Insect Evidence

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 4 - 7/8/12

    Two grisly murder cases, years apart, appear to have little in common at first glance. 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. Examine these two landmark cases where forensic entomology helped convict a killer. Detectives in Edinburgh utilize maggots to determine time of death of the victim, and the Bakersfield case hinges on the discovery of red-shanked grasshoppers caught in a suspect’s car radiator grill.moreless
  • Skeletal Secrets

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 3 -

    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.moreless
  • Fingerprints

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 2 -

    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.moreless
  • DNA Profiling

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 1 -

    The building block of life is now the cornerstone of criminal investigation.