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Interview-Gary Telgenhoff

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Dr. Gary Telgenhoff, real life forensic pathologist and forensic consultant to CSI, decided to do a interview via e-mail with Shane Saunders, owner of ModernDaySherlock..
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MODERNDAYSHERLOCK: What truly inspires you about forensic science?

DR. GARY TELGENHOFF: I'm not sure that I am truly that "inspired" anymore.  But when I started, I think it was the "mystery" or "discovery" of findings that often lead to conclusions.  The process of putting the case together.

Getting an answer that makes sense.  Seeing the understanding in a family's eyes when I have explained what happened to a loved one.

Seeing the understanding in the jury's eyes when I have explained medical findings in common, everyday, layman's language. The occasional feeling that I have contributed to a justice system that often works.

MODERNDAYSHERLOCK: In your career as a forensic pathologist, what has been the most gruesome autopsy you ever conducted?

DR. GARY TELGENHOFF: That's easy.  I just wrote a song about it.  It will be on the next album. It's called "MAMMA DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE."

It would be the case in which the daughter puts Mamma's dead body in a tupperware 60 gallon garbage container and puts it in a rental storage unit for about three years.  I don't know if you are familiar with our weather out here, but the summer months can heat up a unit like that to about 150 degrees.  The people renting the adjacent unit complained of a "foul odor"  (many of our cases start that way).

So, the whole bucket comes in on a gurney. We had to punch a hole in the bottom and drain out the "humanary stew" a phrase coined by Alice Cooper in the song Black Widow.   I considered it more of a human soup.
Well as you might imagine (but actually you can't) the most Godawful, foul
pasty spooge of a  mess rolled out of that can when we tipped it on it's side.
Mama wasn't what she used to be.

My assistant (who has seen most everything) nearly quit on the spot.
 I found myself in a state of introspection and re-evaluation of my chosen 

MODERNDAYSHERLOCK: What is your favorite episode to date, and why?

DR. GARY TELGENHOFF: Well I don't get to see them all. I'm usually too busy going over scripts and answering questions for the writing staff.

But I'll tell ya, that last one on season five, directed by Tarantino was incredible.

Of course part of that might be due to the fact that I watched the screening with George Eads, Marg Helgenberger, Quentin Tarantino, Carol Mendolson and
the producer and writing staff;  here in Vegas at the Palms Casino.  It was a 
 private party with only about 30 persons invited.

Let me tell you, the atmosphere was electric  . . .  akin to being in  a busy sports bar with the superbowl up on the large screen.
 I'm sure the atmosphere had much to do with it, but it was a damned good
episode with George Eads character buried alive.  Great acting, writing, directing  etc. etc.

MODERNDAYSHERLOCK: What do you expect to forecome on the series. Are you considering writing for the series?

DR. GARY TELGENHOFF: These guys are full of surprises.  I have no idea which way they will spin the stories this next season.

I will never be a writer.  After knowing these people, you appreciate how very differently their brains work. I'm a doctor, but I'm not that bright compared to these folks.

In a peripheral sense, I do contribute to the writing.  Many of Dr. Robbins lines are  right from my mouth.There have been some episodes where the story line was written around the way that I answered questions for them.  There was one episode in which they changed a large part of the script because I found it to be unrealistic and incredible. 

Of course, I do this a lot, and am many times over-ridden because the story line is just too damned good to be dragged  down with the details.

MODERNDAYSHERLOCK: Thank you for your time, Dr. T. It was a pleasure.

DR. GARY TELGENHOFF: Thank you for asking.  I enjoyed it.

Shane Saunders is the webmaster of ModernDaySherlock and writer.