The acquisition will not be televised

Posted on May 10, 2010


On the unfilmability of computer forensics, and ways to incorporate it into TV anyway.

I mentioned in a previous post that when they come to make a film of my life, the forensics would be real rather than over-dramatised Hollywood fluff. After considering this idea for a while, and taking on board the comments, I’ve decided to retract it. I was wrong, and I admit it. I’m not often wrong, particularly about sniping from behind a bush being a cowardly and dishonourable way to play Far Cry 2, but I was wrong about this.

Computer forensics is not the most telegenic area of the crime world. Most of us tend not to abseil down buildings wearing black jumpsuits, nor do we drive fast cars and jump out of burning helicopters very often (unless you’re in the Met). Given this, I think we’d be better off trying to mashup CF with existing programmes to get ourselves on telly. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but TV in the UK seems to be constantly stretching the rim of sense and taste to get eyeballs – witness the likes of Channel 4’sย Embarrassing Bodies, where people ‘too shy to go to their GP’ will gladly queue to get their anal warts popped in front of the nation. Every week we’ve got thousands of hours of talent shows, live childbirths, docu-soaps, docu-dramas and car-crash reality shows all interbreeding with each other, and I think they’d jump at the chance to get some fresh splurge in the meme pool.

So, in the best tradition of Monkey posts, I present to you a list of my ideas. Some of these may not make any sense to readers outside the UK. If you work for a TV company and would like to discuss my ideas further, please contact – I’m not cheap, mind.

  • Amputee mouse porn? You disgusting boy!

    How Clean is Your Computer: two flamboyant forensic geeks drop in, unannounced, at the homes of members of the public and do a quick preview of their computers.
    For added tension the monitor is facing away from the handcuffed owner, while the analysts make tutting and ‘eeew’ noises as they triage merrily away. At the end of the session the owner is labelled ‘Porn-Pervert’, ‘Paedo’ or ‘Lucky This Time’, a process which is drawn out over two ad-breaks until he’s dripping with sweat and having palpitations. If he’s a paedo, a baying mob is quickly drummed up from the local housing estate to burn his house down and mount his head on a spike. If he’s a porn fan, his tastes are discussed in excruciating detail and his browser history is displayed with big fancy infographics breaking down Google searches, frequency, timings and freakishness.

  • Forensic Apprentice: A group of keen 20-somethings, desperate to get started on their forensic careers, agree to be ritually humiliated by a suit-wearing sociopath who might, at the end of the series, offer one of them an internship. Pointless tasks set for them could include doing an acquisition inside a cow and giving evidence in drag.
  • Britain’s Got Forensic Talent: People with mental health issues attempt to show how their dog can image hard drives.
  • I’m a Forensic Analyst – Get Me Out of Here!: Geeks are thrown into a jungle and forced to commit random acts of cruelty to animals, with no apparent justification or entertainment value.
  • Birth of an Expert: A pregnant female analyst has to complete a job in the time between her waters breaking and the placenta being delivered. Her motivation is that if she succeeds, her kit will be locked safely away until she gets back from maternity leave.
  • Ten Chances at Online Literacy: a group of teens are taken in hand by pedantic forensics geeks who attempt to teach them how to use MSN and Facebook chat in something approximating English. Every time they drop a vowel or spell phonetically, a finger gets broken – hence the title.

Please add your own in the comments below – you’veย been giving some great comment recently, dear readers, so please keep up the good work. Like a floppy-cuffed Venetian poet, I need a muse to inspire me…