Criminal evidence expert catapulted to stardom

Top Chinese American forensic expert Henry Lee has signed a contract to play himself in a TV show based on his life's work, the scientist has revealed in an exclusive interview with RFA's Mandarin service.

"Court TV Fox has signed a contract with me," Lee said. The 13-episode series will document the forensic expert's best-known cases for a U.S. audience.

"The first [segment] will be in Hawaii. A detective in Hawaii murders his wife and deliberately makes the scene look like a car accident. Following our investigation, the case is eventually solved," Lee said.

Lee, who has been lauded in the international media for his forensic talent, has a track record of more than 7,000 investigations, both in the United States and internationally.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Lee led a team of forensic experts whose job was to identify victims from human remains found in the wreckage of the Twin Towers by means of DNA tests.

His tenacious and diligent approach, along with his low-key wisdom, make Lee a quietly compelling hero in a country fascinated by litigation, as well as a champion of the scientific rules of hard evidence and the supremacy of the rule of law.

"I have seen thousands of people die in front of me. I have seen penniless, homeless people die in front of me. People are all the same in the end," Lee said. "The most important thing is how to achieve a perspective on life and how an ordinary person like me can influence other people."

Lee, 66 and a native of Jiangsu Province, told RFA last January that too much of a fuss had been made of his achievements, which had "built up too much of a legend."

Nevertheless, Lee will give a verbal account of his most famous cases to the editorial team that writes the show.

But he maintains a down-to-earth approach in the face of stardom, saying that he has no wish to expand or exaggerate the shock of criminal wrongdoing. He simply hopes that with the aid of other people's stories, he can show that the law always prevails in the end.

Lee's work is also known and valued in the country of his birth. He is best known in China by his Chinese name, Li Changyu, after he helped to catch a serial killer in the central city of Wuhan.

He is honorary director of forensic science at China's prestigious national police academy, and he ran classes there for several months.

And the advice he offers to aspiring detectives the world over?

"The most important thing is to have scientific evidence. The second is to keep a clear head. You cannot be too subjective," he says. "Study hard every day." #####


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