5 Criminal Justice Careers as Seen on Television

“As seen on TV” is a phrase often reserved for products with lengthy infomercials. But when it comes to the following criminal justice careers, the same phrase applies. You may think that your favorite actors and actresses on television are just faking their way through their roles in criminal dramas, but at the center of the story, there is truth to their characters and what they do.

“Breaking Bad” – DEA agent

One of the coolest things about this AMC show is the cat-and-mouse chase between meth lord Walter White and his brother-in-law, Hank Schrader, a DEA agent (Drug Enforcement Agency) who works to prosecute drug trafficking in the United States. Hank struts with some swagger on the show, and for good reason—being a DEA special agent is one of the most respected drug enforcement roles in the world.

“Dexter” – blood splatter analyst

Maybe he didn't train to be a serial killer (remember, his “dark passenger” resides within him), but somewhere between Dexter Morgan killing animals as a teenager and moonlighting as a vigilante as an adult, he probably studied forensic science, as that's often how blood splatter analysts start out. Something Showtime's hit doesn't show you is that the profession requires continuing education classes and workshops to stay up-to-date (Dexter has enough trouble fitting in all of his “kills”).

“Bones” – forensic anthropologist

This Fox show is actually based on the real life of Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist and expert in the study of human remains or bones (thus, the nickname of the protagonist Temperance Brennan and the title of the show). In order to pursue this career, Reichs completed a bachelor's degree in anthropology at American University before going on to get both her master's and PhD in physical anthropology at Northwestern University.

“Hoarders” – biohazard and hoarding remediation

Cory Chalmers isn't a “character” on a show—he's a real-life person who helps “hoarders” try to put their life in order on the A&E program. He's also the founder of Steri-Clean, Inc., which cleans up biohazard scenes throughout California. He worked as a paramedic and in emergency management before starting this company.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” – crime scene analysts

This CBS show is credited with starting the forensic science show craze, with analysts on this show solving murders by dissecting physical evidence at crime scenes. Typically, this job requires a bachelor's degree in science or criminal justice, but it does not require a love of the music of the Who.

There's a reason why criminal justice careers are often seen on television. They can be pretty exciting and have day-to-day activities that frequently change. However, that doesn't mean that they're always as thrilling as they are on television. TV glorifies the career to the point where you're on the edge of your seat; it doesn't show you the off days where Dexter Morgan has a lot of paperwork to get through.

Image via AMC.com 

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