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How Sherlock Changed the World

4.2 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

His impact on real-life criminal and forensic investigation. Sherlock Holmes, the most famous fictional detective in the world, was also the first Crime Scene Investigator. Based on a real surgeon, Holmes was a scientist who used chemistry, bloodstains, and minute traces of evidence to solve the crime. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle added his own knowledge of fledgling forensic techniques to create the fictional sleuth and his revolutionary crime-scene methods, set in an era when eyewitness reports and smoking gun evidence were needed to convict criminals, and when police incompetence meant that Jack the Ripper stalked the streets freely. Forensic scientists, crime historians, and Sherlockian experts reveal for the first time the astonishing impact the fictional detective had on the development of real-life criminal investigation and forensic techniques. Using a mix of interviews, dramatic recreations, and archival footage, HOW SHERLOCK CHANGED THE WORLD details the impact and legacy of the most famous crime fighter in history.

Review

3.5 stars out of 4 - Mixing forensics, true crime science, and a bit of literary history, this engaging documentary should have wide appeal, especially with fans of the popular series Sherlock and Elementary. Highly recommended. --Video Librarian

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: .
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS (DIRECT)
  • DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DUX28ZE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,044 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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As a 40 year criminal investigator and instructor in investigations and the use of the forensic science I watched with facination the best summary of the origin of modern technics I have seen to date. I learned the origin of things I have been involved with and doing. There were a few things that I want to research to see if they are completely accurate, but overall this is an outstanding presentation. It identifies and credits true pioneers like, Gross, Locard, Kirk and others along with more modern practitioners such as Lee and Rieders. I plan to use this as part of my college criminal investigations class.
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Contrary to the rather histrionic 1 star review left for this item, this show was actually interesting to watch. To be sure, Holmes was not the FIRST fictional detective to use some of the forensic techniques which are commonplace today, but it can be said the fictional adventures of Holmes popularized many of these techniques. Also, to be fair, it wasn't the program itself that was making some of the claims about Holmes but many of the guests interviewed did so.

Several forensic investigators are interviewed, including Henry Lee, one of the most prominent forensic scientists in the world. They talk about the method Holmes used and how they have come down to us today and are used now. They also talk of the personal impact of the Holmes stories on their own careers. There are some snippets of Holmes' cases dramatized. Also a look is given at the latest iteration of Holmes played by Benedict Cumberbatch. There is even some footage of an interview given by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle filmed in the 1930's, I think. I wasn't aware such footage existed, so that was a treat to watch. A quick look is also given at Joseph Bell, Doyle's mentor and one of the inspirations for Holmes, and a look is given at Doyle's own forays into crime solving.

All in all, I thought it a well put together program, worth a look if you're interested in Sherlock Holmes and/or in forensic science.
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"Sherlock Holmes, the first CSI, continues to inspire detectives on TV and at the movies. He is as popular as ever. But his lasting legacy is that, even today, he continues to solve crimes."

The above is said by the narrator at the end of this spectacularly interesting documentary that blends real-life forensic analysis with Sherlockian forensic analysis.

I learned quite a bit from this documentary, not only about forensics but about Sherlock Holmes (and his alter ego, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859 to 1930).

Using a combination of interviews (with forensic scientists, crime historians, Sherlock Holmes' experts, etc.), dramatic recreations, and archival footage (some in black and white), this documentary explains the impact and legacy of the most famous fictional crime fighter in history.

Here are some of the chapters found in this documentary:

(1) Jack the Ripper
(2) Deductive reasoning
(3) Blood evidence
(4) Bullets and ballistics
(5) The science of poisoning
(6) Fingerprints and fakes
(7) The art of tracing footsteps

Finally, what I especially liked about this documentary is the use of real high-profile murder cases with footage of the real crime scenes.

In conclusion, not only is this an instructional documentary on forensics, it is an entertaining one as well. I leave you with this piece of wisdom from Sherlock Holmes:

"Once you've excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

(2013; 2 hr; 2 episodes; wide screen; 12 chapters)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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I found the show on PBS strictly by accident today. I have been reading Sherlock stories since age 10 and own every Sherlock Holmes book I've ever seen (some of them twice!). One of my favorite Christmas gifts was a set published in the early 1900's.
As I watched the show I realized how much he influenced my way of looking at things...no, I am not a detective of any kind, but I do analyze in ways that are singularly "Holmesian" - to the point that several boyfriends have asked if I were a private eye. They seemed to take offense at things I noticed about their apartments or behavior!
I cannot believe that someone complained about the actor and the wardrobe! Of course, I am old enough to have Basil Rathbone as the image in my mind of what Holmes "looks like" - Peter Cushing also fit the description invented by Doyle...but so many actors have held the role that I am able to get beyond the looks and listen to the words...
I loved that the various forensics professionals kept referencing the Holmes ideas that led to today's innovations. Fascinating!
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I have loved Sherlock Holmes for years. I was first introduced to him by watching the films with my dad on PBS and later started reading the stores by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I can't make myself shorten his name-sorry).

This series goes into the life of the author himself, the impact that he had on criminal investigation and how he is still inspiring forensic scientists today. They present case histories from the author's time right up until now. They go into details like the individual who was the inspiration behind the Great Detective and how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle finally came out of the shadow of his character to have other real-life impacts on the society of his time to today. They also show flashes of the Sherlock series on BBC and how they are presenting those deductions so that the viewers get them along with Sherlock. Brilliant.

I have already watched it half a dozen times since I got it and I haven't even had it a month.
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