Have you ever wondered whether the plotlines on police-procedural shows like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigators” are based more on science fact or fanciful fiction? Have you ever been curious about how your favorite characters on those shows compare to real-life investigators? Are you one of those skeptical TV viewers who scrutinizes the technical details of each episode in hopes of catching the writers’ every cheat, blooper and departure from reality?
If any of this applies to you, come to Indiana University Northwest Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. and learn the real story behind one of TV’s most compelling dramas. Forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Telgenhoff, who is the deputy medical examiner for Clark County, Nev. and a consultant for the Las Vegas-based CBS show “CSI,” will discuss his experiences with the hit drama and with his day job in a major metropolitan coroner’s office. This free program, sponsored by the IU Northwest Student Activities Board (SAB), will be held in the Savannah Center Auditorium and is open to the public.
As a medical examiner in Sin City, Telgenhoff performs approximately 450 autopsies each year; about 10 percent of those involve homicide victims. Telgenhoff is often called upon to testify about his findings in court. In addition to his consultant work on the top-rated crime drama starring William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger, Telgenhoff is also known to TV audiences through his appearance on a recent anti-drug public-service commercial, in which he describes the unfortunate death of a young woman and attributes the tragedy solely to her use of the drug Ecstasy.
Telgenhoff received his master’s degree in biology and physiology from Eastern Michigan University in 1989, and he graduated from Michigan State University Medical School in 1992. He served five years of pathology residency in various Ohio communities before relocating to Las Vegas.
Outside of his busy professional career, Telgenhoff pursues his musical interests as a rock musician. He has played in a number of bands, and some of Telgenhoff’s music was even used on a “CSI” episode’s soundtrack.
Telgenhoff’s upcoming address at IU Northwest is the latest in a recent array of notable University programs featuring such fascinating public personalities as best-selling author Sarah Vowell, who visited campus in November, and nationally known Native American comic Charlie Hill, who gave a free comedy concert here in October. Upcoming events include: on Jan. 14 at 1:30 p.m., a presentation by civil-rights expert and Harvard law professor Lani Guinier; on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., a Black History Month event featuring best-selling author and poet Nikki Giovanni; and, on March 22 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, a lunchtime address by celebrated Enron whistleblower Lynn Brewer, sponsored by the IU Northwest School of Business and Economics.
Linda Anderson, director of the Office of Student Life and Athletics, said the SAB selected Telgenhoff as a guest speaker because board members wanted to host a program that would pair popular appeal with serious subject matter. Given the ongoing success of “CSI” and the show’s real-life foundation in forensic science, she said, Telgenhoff seemed to fit that criteria.
“The Student Activities Board wanted a program that wasn’t just all fun and games, but that would still have a lot of appeal to people,” Anderson said. “I think this was a good choice.”
Anderson noted that IU Northwest has strong links to area law enforcement through the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, which is located on campus, and she suggested that Telgenhoff’s presentation might appeal particularly to law enforcement personnel and to students who are interested in criminal justice or forensic medicine. Of course, Anderson noted, anyone who is a fan of “CSI” will want to hear Telgenhoff’s address, as well.
Telgenhoff’s presentation will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the IU Northwest Savannah Center Auditorium, located at 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Gary, Ind. This program is free and open to the public.