Review of FBI (CBS) – Green Birds, S1/Ep2

(Disclaimer: If you are watching FBI simply to be entertained, don’t read this review. I’m here to provide a reality check for those who want to learn about the real FBI.)

Recap:  After eight people are fatally poisoned at a deli in New York City, agents Maggie Bell and OA Zidan trace the crime to an unlikely culprit and conduct a sting operation to prevent further attacks.

Review:  Here’s where they got it right, got it wrong or used creative license and the applicable 20 FBI Clichés Reality Checklist number:

Another fun and fast-paced show. I spotted a misconception during the first scene. Yellow caution tape isn’t just a barrier to protect the public from danger. The primary goal is to protect the crime scene from cross contamination.  When Maggie entered the crime scene, she could have inadvertently altered the area and the evidence. (#17) She should know better.

I was excited to see Sela Ward in the role of SAC Dana Mosier. She’s almost perfect for the part, but I have to make one delicate observation. The mandatory retirement age for agents is 57, just saying. (#12 Expanded version) In New York Division, as well as the Washington D.C. Office (WFO) and the Los Angeles Division, the head of the office is actually an Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC). I assume the SAC character was inspired by former New York Division ADIC Jan Fedarcyk. Currently, the ADIC of WFO is a woman, and the following FBI Field Offices have female SACs – Cincinnati, Little Rock, Louisville, Minneapolis, and Oklahoma City. That’s 6 out of 56 FBI field offices or approximately 10%.

The scenario of women being enticed via the Internet to join ISIS reminds me of the FBI Jihad Jane investigation. To learn more about Jihad Jane listen to FBI Retired Case File Review – Episode 10. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet a real-life Maggie Bell, retired agent Kathy Lambert, who has a Ph.D. with a concentration in Counter-terrorism.

Audio DNA? Really? Creative license was definitely in use for this scenario.

Analyst Kristen Chazal is a computer whiz. It’s amazing how she can obtain detailed information on suspects with a few keystrokes. In the real world, it’s impossible to type in a person’s name into a database and have everything ever known about that person pop out a few minutes later. (#3)

I thought I heard that the team will be dealing with a serial killer in episode 3. By the way, what squad are Special Agents Bell and Zidan on? More on that topic in my post next week.

Another great episode. However, I’m just keeping it real.

 

If you don’t have the 20 FBI Clichés Reality Checklist, you can join my Reader Team to get it or listen or read the expanded version from my 50th and 100th episodes featuring 10 and 10 More Cliches and Misconceptions about the FBI in Books, TV, and Movies. 

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, attempts to relive her glory days by writing crime fiction and hosting FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast available for subscription on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and other popular podcast apps. Her novels—Pay To Play and Greedy Givers—inspired by actual true crime FBI cases and featuring temptation, corruption, and redemption, are available at amazon.com. 

2 Comments

  1. Russ AtkinsonOctober 5, 2018

    I gave up on this series after one episode as I have on nearly every FBI-related series. If others enjoy them, that’s fine but I can’t get past the unrealistic scenarios and characters. I just hope this sort of media does not create a sort of “CSI effect” in juries who might expect the FBI to do all the things in the show (and look like those actors).

    Reply
    1. Jerri WilliamsOctober 5, 2018

      Russ – Yes, there are certainly scenes were creative license is used to deal with the time constraints involved in completing a complex investigation in less than an hour. In episode 2 they talked about using audio DNA to determine the identity of the person who had recorded a message. I hope juries don’t expect that kind of analysis at a trial. Yes, watching may become a difficult task at times, but the TV show is definitely providing positive promotional benefits for the FBI. That’s 100% a good thing!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top