I don’t watch CSI. Ok, that’s not totally true or this post wouldn’t exist. I almost never watch it. I did catch a re-run while I was eating lunch on the weekend, an episode called “Overload” (some guy was electrocuted and fell off a building — I can’t exactly remember why).
In one scene, the lead character says, in what I assume is his typical “know it all” tone, “Terminal velocity is 9.81 metres per second per second”.
No, it ain’t — the acceleration due to gravity (on Earth) is 9.81 m/s2. The second time unit gives it away — this isn’t a velocity, it is a rate of change of a velocity.
Well, any kid in high school physics could have picked out that error. But here we have a screenwriter (probably a team of them), a director, producers, all the actors, sound techs, cameramen, editors, and post-production people involved in the scene, and evidently not one of them knows even the most basic physics concepts. More seriously, the producers of the show must assume that it doesn’t matter whether basic facts are checked because the audience is likely similarly uninformed. This really isn’t artistic license, and it adds nothing to the drama. It’s just a goofy mistake that could have been prevented — as Carl Sagan recommended in The Demon-Haunted World — by hiring a grad student to check the script.
Nitpicking? Maybe. But I think it’s a sad situation when no one involved in a science-themed show is even qualified to nitpick.