TV

Police Report #8 – iZombie

Written by Nik Havert

It’s time for another police report. This one is on the police and crime scene work depicted on iZombie. For those new to this column and wondering why I’m qualified to write it, I am a full-time police officer with nearly twenty years experience, and a State of Indiana certified crime scene investigator with nearly eight years experience in crime scene work.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

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Liv: Oh, hey, sorry about you catching hepatitis from that cabinet door handle. My bad.

Episode #3 (“The Exterminator”): Liv (Rose McIver) starts the episode by contaminating a bottle of chemicals and a cabinet handle in the morgue by opening both with gloves covered in a corpse’s blood and viscera. Cross-contamination safety is basic stuff when it comes to crime scene processing and autopsies, and someone on set should’ve spotted this before the scene was filmed.

The episode ends with Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) bringing the killer to justice, of course, but how is he explaining his leads? He gets a confession using information gleaned from what he thinks are psychic visions from Liv. Those findings will eventually come out in court, during office talk, and at his annual performance review. How is he avoiding the subject that one of the medical examiners is a psychic and he’s using her powers to help him solve cases?

Episode #4 (“Live and Let Clive”): There’s almost no crime scene work in this episode, but the plot revolves around Liv thinking Babineaux might be corrupt after she eats the brain of one of his former confidential informants and sees flashbacks of Babineaux trashing people and otherwise being one rough dude. Liv eventually reveals to him that the Chinese Triad to which Babineaux’s informant belonged is now targeting the undercover agent in the Triad. Babineaux calls in this information, the informant is saved, and most of the Triad is captured.

This is all well and good, but Babineaux is going to have to explain how he discovered the informant had been compromised. The entire undercover division will want to learn how the informant was discovered so any such mistakes can be avoided in future undercover operations. Babineaux will have to either make up a convincing lie or admit his psychic friend told him this.

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Babineaux: So if I tell them you’re psychic, we’re both fired. Any ideas? Ravi: Tell them Liv’s a zombie. After that, they’ll be happy to hear anything else.

Episode #5 (“Flight of the Living Dead”): First, the scene with Liv and Ravi (Rahul Kohli) making morbid jokes as they look up at the dead body in the tree? Stuff like that happens at most crime scenes. Gallows humor is the norm at such things, especially a scene as weird as that would be in real life. There were too many people in it, however, and the victim’s friends would not (and should not) be within eyesight of the victim (a problem the show had before in episode 2).

Later, Liv and Babineaux hope to get video footage of the skydiving accident from the helmet cameras everyone was wearing, but they learn the company that sponsored the jump has erased it. Liv and Ravi would’ve had the victim’s footage, however, because the victim’s clothes (including her helmet and camera) and personal effects would’ve been in the morgue until the body was released. The helmet camera footage would’ve been viewed at the morgue before autopsy.

Babineaux is also investigating the disappearances of scores of people from a certain area of town, but his lieutenant (Hiro Kanagawa) tells him to stick with homicide cases and not cases involving missing persons. No one else seems to have noticed all these people missing. That is, of course, silly. So many people missing from one area would attract the attention of the patrol units who work in that zone. Patrol units would notice the thinner crowds at the skate park, the missing homeless people they see every day, and certainly all the “Have you seen me?” flyers in the area. Patrol units would be asking questions and even be flagged down by the remaining people who would by now be freaking out about a serial killer, body-snatcher invasion, or something similar.

Episode #6 (“Virtual Reality Bites”): The writers really dropped the crime scene ball in this one. First, there are too many people in the crime scene in the victim’s basement. Second, Ravi mentions later at the victim’s autopsy that the victim was dead for ten days. There’s no way Ravi could know this for certain. Exact times of death are a TV and movie trope. Times of death are always estimated. Ravi could say his estimate was ten days based on certain evidence, but to flat-out say the corpse was ten days old is wrong.

Third, Liv lies down on a couch in the morgue with bloodstains all over her coat, thus contaminating the couch and requiring it at least be steam-cleaned. Fourth, Babineaux and Liv both handle the birthday card/murder weapon in the case without wearing gloves. They remove it from its evidence bag and monkey with it. It’s not difficult to pull fingerprints out of paper and cardstock, and there’s no remaining print powder or chemical stains on the card, which means it hasn’t been processed for fingerprints. They ruined the murder weapon for processing.

Lastly, Ravi examines the body of a dead delivery boy who used to work for Blaine’s (David Anders) restaurant until Blaine’s girlfriend killed him. Ravi tells Babineaux that the kid has a certain type of expensive beef and Italian truffles in his stomach. No. No, no, no. Ravi could tell Babineaux the kid ate some beef and truffles, but not the type and how rare they are. All beef looks the same after it’s been chewed and stewed in stomach acid.

Episode #7 (“Maternity Liv”): The biggest question that I had, and everyone else should’ve had, during this episode is, “Why only four people to raid a house with barricaded armed subjects inside it?”

Think about it. The crazy people responsible for kidnapping young women have already fired on Liv and Babineaux, and they send in four detectives? A SWAT team would’ve been called to breach the house after hostage negotiations either were deemed worthless or after the negotiators bought the SWAT team time to set up the raid on the house. You wouldn’t send four detectives armed with pistols into the house.

We know this was done so Lieutenant Suzuki could set up the farm to bury the bodies of Blaine’s victims, but all the other detectives and the patrol units would be asking where the SWAT team was and why they weren’t armed with rifles or shotguns. Lt. Suzuki’s insistence on going in alone would also immediately raise suspicion with the others who would’ve stormed the house at the first sound of gunfire and not wait for whatever “signal” Suzuki was supposed to send.

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Liv: Only four of you? Really? The other three agreed to that? Suzuki: Yeah, I know, right? I could barely believe it and it was MY idea!

What do you think? Am I making too much of this? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter!

About the author

Nik Havert