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SCHEDULING NOTE: Roundtable will air at 89.5 FM at 12:30 p.m. today, instead of noon.

FRONTLINE: The Real CSI

Airs Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Joanna Grivetti, crime scene investigator in the homicide division of the Richmond, California, police department, inspects a vehicle in which a young man was shot in the back of the head during a drive-by shooting on March 9, 2012.

From the courtroom to the living room (thanks to the hit television series “CSI”), forensic science is king. Expertise on fingerprints, ballistics and bite mark analysis are routinely called on to solve the most difficult criminal cases — and to put the guilty behind bars. But how reliable is the science behind forensics?

A FRONTLINE investigation finds serious flaws in some of the best-known tools of forensic science and wide inconsistencies in how forensic evidence is presented in the courtroom.

From the sensational murder trial of Casey Anthony and the FBI’s botched investigation of the Madrid terrorist bombing to capital cases in rural Mississippi, FRONTLINE documents how a field with few uniform standards and unproven science can undermine the search for justice.

As part of the investigative series “Post Mortem,” correspondent Lowell Bergman reports in a joint investigation with ProPublica and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley.

This episode originally aired in 2012.

FRONTLINE is on Facebook, and follow @frontlinepbs on Twitter.

Video

Preview: Frontline: The Real CSI

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Watch The Real CSI Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Above: How reliable is the science behind forensics? FRONTLINE finds serious flaws in some of the best-known tools of forensic science and wide inconsistencies in how forensic evidence is presented in the courtroom.

Video

Forensic Credentialing Org Responds to “The Real CSI”

Above: FRONTLINE’s film "The Real CSI" included an examination of forensic credentialing and, in particular, the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI).

Video

Can Unconscious Bias Undermine Fingerprint Analysis?

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Watch The Fingerprint Examiner's Achilles Heel on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Above: In 2004, cognitive neoroscientist Itiel Dror set out to examine whether the process of fingerprint analysis, long considered one of the most reliable forms of forensic science, can be biased by the knowledge examiners have when they attempt to find a match for prints from a crime scene. In the clip above from the film "The Real CSI," FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman explains the way Dror constructed an experiment using the case of Brandon Mayfield.

You've Never Seen This on 'CSI'

With no access to refrigeration and no funding for a burial, Coroner Tim Brown of Marlboro County, SC, says he made a "professional decision" to cremate the decomposing remains of a John Doe, who was later identified as athlete Michael Jordan's father. In "Post Mortem," airing Feb. 1, FRONTLINE, ProPublica and NPR examine the reality of death investigation in America.

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Full Episode: Frontline: Post Mortem

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Watch Post Mortem on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Above: In "Post Mortem," FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman reports the results of a joint investigation with ProPublica, NPR, and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley.

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