Police Report – Gotham and The Flash

Believe it or not, I am (among many other things) a full-time police officer and a real-life crime scene investigator. I’m also a lifelong fan of comics; to the point I even write and publish them.

I also like Batman and I am a big fan of the Flash, so I was excited to see Gotham and The Flash come to my TV set this year. However, I can’t help but watch both shows with a cop’s / CSI’s eyes. So, I proposed to my editor here at AP2HYC to write a unique review of both shows through the eyes of a police officer / CSI. He liked the idea, so here goes. We’ll start with the first three episodes of each show. Warning – Spoilers ahead…


Episode #1 (“Pilot”): Right off the bat (Ha! See what I did there?), Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) have potentially ruined their star witness to the Thomas and Martha Wayne murders. How? By letting Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) sit in the crime scene and do nothing but stare at his parents’ dead bodies. No one, adult or child, should be allowed to remain in such a scene (or any crime scene, really). Here’s a crazy thought: Bruce Wayne is old enough to handle and fire a gun. He was, as far as Gordon and Bullock know, the last person to see his parents alive. This makes him suspect number one until they can find another suspect. So, the Gotham City Police Department let their first suspect remain in the crime scene where he can potentially destroy or remove evidence.

Gordon also makes a terrible mistake when he tells Bruce, “I know how you feel right now.” This is a cardinal mistake in interviewing a crime victim, especially at death scenes. Everyone processes grief differently, so no one can say they know how someone feels in a given situation. A drunk driver killed Gordon’s father. A gunman shot Bruce’s parents. They are not the same thing, so Gordon doesn’t know how Bruce feels.


No, Jim, you don’t know how he feels. Now get him out of your crime scene.

Then, they let Alfred (Sean Pertwee) waltz into the scene, further compromising it. A broken pearl necklace implicates the man framed for the Wayne murders, but does anyone on the GCPD send the necklace to the crime lab for DNA testing? Everyone assumes it belonged to Martha Wayne, but a simple DNA test with comparison standards taken at autopsy would reveal her DNA wasn’t on the necklace. Oops. That would’ve changed the entire season.

Episode #2 (“Selina Kyle”): Bullock is still at work even though he just killed a man in the last episode. If you kill someone, you will be removed from duty during the course of the internal investigation to ensure the shooting was justified. Either the GCPD has the fastest IA (internal affairs) investigations ever, or the town is even more corrupt than the show’s writers realize.

Edward Nygma (Corey Michael Smith) gets chemical analysis results on the serum used to kidnap street kids in record time. I wish I could get results from our forensic laboratory that fast. Then again, he’s supposed to be a quirky genius so maybe he’s just a whiz at these things.

I did like the scene in which Gordon chews out the street cop for not bothering to question the kid who fell through the restaurant window about the dead homeless man to see if both are connected. That is good detective work on Gordon’s part.

Episode #3 (“The Balloonman”): My biggest beef with this episode is how Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) is adamant in her belief that Gordon murdered Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). She believes this because Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), a crime boss, told her it was so. Where is her evidence? More importantly, where’s the body? Gordon, rightly so, asks Montoya and her partner, “Since when did major crimes become IA?” He’s right. IA would be handling Montoya’s weak case.

Apparently no one is working the child kidnapping / Dollmaker case from the previous episode. The case is never mentioned, nor is the mysterious Dollmaker. Granted, Gordon and Bullock might not be working a kidnapping case since they’re homicide detectives, but someone needs to be following up on it. All of the rescued kids, including Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), would be interviewed and you’d think that at least one of them (Selina) would bring up hearing the Dollmaker’s goons mentioning him.

Gordon and Bullock can’t find any fingerprints or evidence of the Balloonman’s (Dan Bakkedahl) identity on the balloon cart he left behind, but no one thinks to test the pig mask he dropped for DNA (assuming one of the newshounds or someone else didn’t grab it before GCPD arrived).

gotham balloonmanV2

There’s plenty of DNA on that mask for identification purposes.

I also don’t know why the corrupt cop didn’t shoot the balloon attached to his ankle as soon as he saw it and then hold the Balloonman at gunpoint until backup arrived.


The Flash

Episode #1 (“Pilot”): Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) crime scene work gets under my skin right away when he looks at tire tread for a few seconds and immediately tells Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and his partner that the 12” super wide tires belong to a Shelby GT 500 Mustang and are “specific to that model.” Barry’s recall ability is apparently good enough to absorb the entire SWGTREAD (Scientific Working Group for Shoeprint and Tire Track Evidence) database.  He should be conducting lectures at police academies, universities, and forensic schools across the world if he is that good and not just be a “forensic assistant” on a city department.

It’s impossible to look at tire tread and name the car on which those tires are mounted. Why? Because I can put 12” super wide tires on a host of vehicles if I want. A quick Google search of “12’’ wide tires” will show you photos of such tires on Corvettes, pick-up trucks, and even lawn mowers.

Joe’s partner is drinking coffee near a dead body in this scene. Eating, drinking, chewing gum or tobacco, smoking, and using a toilet are all forbidden in a crime scene. All of these activities spread DNA everywhere. Joe’s boss, who is annoyed with Barry for being late yet again to a crime scene, should be just as annoyed with Joe’s partner.

Barry also uses Joe’s partner’s pen to pick up fecal matter (“Animal, I guess.” – Meaning he’s not entirely sure.) for lab analysis. Barry is apparently a poorly equipped CSI because any halfway decent one would have disposable tweezers, scalpels, or even sealed plastic spoons for such a thing. Plus, using someone’s pen introduces his or her DNA into the sample, thus ruining it.

Episode #2 (“Fastest Man Alive”): Barry walks into the gun store crime scene without putting on his gloves. * sigh * Also, Joe is back at work without any time off after killing the Weather Wizard (Chad Rook) in the previous episode. Apparently, the same IA officers on Gotham work on The Flash.

The worst sin of this episode, however, is in the flashback sequence where young Barry (Logan Williams) is allowed (by Joe, no less!) to run into the house where his mother was just murdered, go under the scene tape, and lift back the body sheet covering his mother’s dead body. I hope Joe had a lot of money saved for Barry’s therapy. How did Barry’s father’s attorney miss this during the trial? The entire crime scene was compromised by this action and the whole police force would’ve been shown as incompetent in court.

Also, this isn’t from a CSI or police perspective but it must be asked: When Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) grows one of the Multiplex (Michael Smith) clones, why is he fully clothed?

Episode #3 (“Things You Can’t Outrun”): Apparently no one is working the Simon Stagg (William Stadler) murder case, or cares about it since the stabbing death of a major philanthropist in town is never mentioned in this episode.


Hello, Gotham PD? I’d like you to investigate my murder, because Central City PD isn’t.

At the murder scene involving the dead mobsters, Barry knows just by looking at the bodies that they probably died from poisonous gas thanks to “signs of histotoxic hypoxia.” He may have noticed this from some skin discoloration or wrinkling, but the bigger question is, “How many deaths by histotoxic hypoxia are there in this town?” The answer is, “Apparently so many that Barry can recognize the signs with just a cursory glance.” Again, if this is the case, why isn’t he a highly paid instructor at the FBI?

STAR Labs is turned into a super prison and the Mist (Anthony Carrigan) is put there, but how does that solve the open cases on the murders he committed? Will the deaths of the mobsters and the judge be forever held in the police department’s cold case files?

Am I over-thinking this? More police reports will be forthcoming! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

About the author

Nik Havert