Review of FBI (CBS) – Conflict of Interest, S1 E19 

Recap:  An American diplomat is killed while being used as a pawn in a dangerous drug ring, and the team must work together to bring them down. Also, Jubal and OA try to help friends from their past fight off their inner demons.

ReviewFor educational purposes, I made a few reality check notes:

I watched and planned to write a complete review of this week’s episode. I especially wanted to address the fact that Maggie shot and killed a bad guy, and then immediately returned to work as if nothing had happened. No one investigated the shooting to determine if it was justified, no one confiscated her weapon, no one interviewed witnesses, and Maggie wasn’t given any time off to “process” the shooting. Remember, I always remind you that murder in an FBI case is also a local homicide. In real life, both the FBI and the NYPD would have conducted a thorough evaluation of this deadly shooting incident.

Unfortunately, I got behind schedule and will be flying out of town in the morning. So, to save time I’m going to, instead, share a section from my soon-to-be-released book, FBI Myths And Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives regarding what happens when agents are involved in a shooting incident:

All FBI shooting incidents, even the accidental discharge of a weapon by an agent, are investigated and reviewed. When a weapon is fired in a situation involving a criminal matter, a shooting incident review group is deployed to where the shooting occurred, and factual information is gathered to determine if the agent involved was operating within the scope of the FBI’s deadly force policy and in accordance with FBI training and procedures. Agents are permitted to fire their weapons only if they have a reasonable belief that a situation presents an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others. If the incident resulted in injuries or fatalities,  this review is made with the cooperation and assistance of local law enforcement to determine further if any local or state laws were violated.

As in the case of any other type of investigation, all employees, personnel, and witnesses at the scene are identified and interviewed regarding the incident. Investigators also look for safety and training issues that may be revealed during their inquiry. The completed report is reviewed independently by a Shooting Incident Review Group (SIRG), within the Bureau’s Inspection Division, to analyze and evaluate the application of deadly force in such incidents.

To learn more about how the FBI handles a real-life shooting incident, listen to FBI Retired Episode 161: Jim Sweeney and Rich Macko – Broad Street Shootout.

 (Disclaimer: If you are watching FBI simply to be entertained, don’t read this review. I’m here to educate and provide a reality check for those who want to learn about the real FBI. My reality checks should not be confused with criticism. I like this show and believe that it’s a powerful promo for the real FBI. I’m excited that a new generation is watching and perhaps deciding they want to be FBI agents when they grow up. Attempting to create an accurate portrayal of an FBI investigation is an impossible task if the investigation must be solved within less than an hour. Corners must be cut, and creative license must be used to move matters along quickly. I get it. I really do. However, to counteract the “CSI Effect” this sometimes creates, I’m going to, respectfully, point out a few issues.)

Join my Reader Team to get the FBI Reality Checklist, and discover 20 clichés and misconceptions about FBI in books, TV, and movies.  


Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 200 episodes available for free subscription on all popular podcast apps.

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