SEARCHING FOR TRACES – LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN FORENSICS

They are the unsung heroes of crime investigation – forensic scientists. We meet Europe’s leading experts in forensics. We learn about the newest methods in their profession and take a closer look at their most exciting cases.

We take a closer look at the ones working behind the scenes when it comes to solving major crimes. Here, in high tech laboratories in the cellars of Europe’s Universities, hospitals and forensic institutes, is where they work on their crucial share in figuring out what has happened at a crime scene. They are forensic scientists, the unsung heroes of crime investigation. They did not choose a job in the area of criminal investigations. First and foremost, they are scientists. A great interest in their topic is what brought them to where they are today. Like the forensic entomologist Jens Amendt in Frankfurt, Germany, who was fascinated by insects and decided to study them. It was years into his professional career before he became a specialist in forensic entomology. Botanist Martina Weber in Vienna followed her teacher into the field of forensic pollen analysis, and just recently solved a case regarding the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in Pompeji some 2000 years ago. Lorna Dawson from the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen solved a murder by following the traces of soil on the suspect's car and boots. Philippe Esperanca in Marseille even developed a new mixture to make wiped away traces of blood visible again. Professionalism and curiosity, and the eagerness to unravel whatever mystery is put in front of them, is what makes scientists so great at what they do. Whenever a capital crime happens, forensic experts of different fields get to work with the traces left behind at the crime scene. The results of their investigations, put together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, are the ones that help investigators figure out how and when exactly a crime went down. For this documentary, we meet Europe’s leading experts in forensics. We learn about the newest methods in their profession, what made them choose their path, how they became involved with law enforcement, and we take a closer look at their most exciting cases.