Jennifer Dornbush, author of “Forensic Speak” has defined common 16 plot points found in TV procedurals.
- Establish and present the case. Introduce the theme and critical incident leading to the crime being committed.
- The main investigator performs the first examination to gather evidence.
- The main investigator draws conclusions or postulates a theory. This is the first major TURNING POINT in the story because it reveals vital information about the main character and the crime.
- The conclusions are tested and disproved.
- New proof is gathered and challenged and disproved once again.
- Investigators meet obstacles to their investigation. Despite the setback, they rise to the challenge with a greater determination to solve the crime. This is the MIDPOINT of the story.
- A new hypothesis is formed and prepare to test it. The investigation gains some ground.
- False leads are pursued. They are tied to something personal rather than hard evidence.
- The investigator ponders a new way to solve the case.
- Finally, a new piece of evidence is introduced which helps the case by some external source. Also, old evidence which was previously thought to be unimportant, comes to light again.
- The investigator is threatened when they get too close to solving to the case.
- The new evidence is challenged.
- External forces tests the investigator to their limits. All hope is lost as the case seems unsolvable.
- There is a new breakthrough through a new discovery or action. This is the final major TURNING POINT.
- The case is solved following a final battle and dramatic climax.
- Justice is received and the old world is restored.