Geek Love: Five Brains We Adore on Television

“Geek” used to be a bad word.? As the digital age dawned,?the only thing geeks on television were good for were hacking into the school computer system to change a grade.? However the technological revolution also brought an accompanying shift in social dynamics and geek power was born.? It’s not money, it’s not guns, it’s not politics.? Information is power and those who have it win.? If you want to win these days, you need a geek on your team.

And shows today have got some of the best we’ve ever scene.

Geek vs Nerd

These two are not synonymous.? While both have highly developed skills, usually related to computers, it is generally agreed that geeks have the social skills to match their intelligence, while nerds do not.? Colleagues may not understand how they do that voodoo that they do so well but geek teammates are referred to as friends and coworkers will protect a geek that they consider “theirs”.? This protection often includes guns as geeks tend to work behind the scenes and are only drawn into the field under extreme circumstances.


Penelope Garcia, Criminal Minds.? The Oracle of Quantico is the BAU’s most useful weapon in their quests to catch serial killers.? With the country’s databanks at her fingertips, Garcia always has?the information they need and still has?time to flirt. Tech support should always come with a side of sass.

The Evolution of Criminalistics

Remember when Quincy was cutting edge science?? Don’t worry, neither does anybody else.

Geeks burst upon the scene when CSI premiered in fall of 2000.? Suddenly the lab was the coolest place on television.

DNA was just coming into mainstream acceptance and old cases were being overturned as technology caught up the evidence that was left behind at crime scenes years ago.???If Cops was successful in showing the arrests, viewers were rabid to what happened next.? Taking the audience into the lab opened up a whole new world where it became apparent that the perfect crime was becoming much harder to pull off.

The science geeks opened the door to their siblings, the computer geeks, and their cousins, the academic geeks.? It wasn’t enough to simply solve current crimes anymore.???The CSI spin-offs begat sub-genres, and the realm of the geek quickly spread to military crimes and specialized evidence.


Charlie Epps, Numb3rs.? Not all geeks have unhealthy relationships with their keyboards.? This Cal-Sci mathematics professor prefers to work old school with chalk and dry-erase markers.? Each week, he helps his FBI-agent brother by reducing complex theories to their lowest common denominator to show how math can be used to predict human responses.? Algebra class was never this interesting.

Real Geeks Don’t Use Unix

Okay, that’s a lie.? But there is a line that gets blurred between television and reality when so many shows have even a small basis in real science.? We may call a geek a computer god but the fact remains, even geeks are limited by current technology.

Many shows acknowledge that they time-condense scientific process; nobody wants to wait 48 hours for a toxicology report.??A person cannot sit down and hack a secret government agency’s firewall in twenty minutes.? Satellites cannot always be immediately?retasked – and somebody is going to notice if they are.

The power of the geek is so great that it is spilling over into real life.? Unfortunately, their successes on television do not always translate into the real world. The CSI effect is popping up in courtrooms and causing trouble for television geeks’ real life counterparts.? On the flip-side, however, criminalistic course enrollments have gone through the roof.


Chloe O’Brian, 24.? She appeared on the third longest day of Jack Bauer’s life and has been one of the few collegues who hasn’t died or abandoned him.? Chloe has proved her loyalty by hacking every system on the planet (and a couple of satellites orbiting above it) in order to help him save the world.? She always comes across as abrupt and surly but we really haven’t seen her on a day after she’s had a good night’s sleep.

More than W0W

Just because they know what the “T” stand for in “James T Kirk”, geeks today have moved beyond the stereotype.? Characters are well-rounded individuals who have lives and loves outside their jobs.?? Granted, their significant others tend to be fellow geeks but at least they don’t go home to a refrigerator full of leftover Chinese and suite in the basement anymore.

The stigma of being friends with a geek is also fading.? These days, who doesn’t want a friend to call when your computer flashes the blue screen of death.? Everybody knows somebody who works in IT.? Between Facebook, Twitter and all the rest, you are already on the net.? It would be negligent on your own part not to learn the basics and geeks can teach you how to navigate in the shallow end.? If you don’t have a 10-year-old in the house, they can also?stop the stupid clock from flashing on your old VCR.

One last thing to keep in mind is?that TV geeks can ruin your credit rating, create a criminal record for you and even arrange for your identity to disappear.? Staying friendly is the very least you can do.


Alec Hardison, Leverage.?? Not all geeks work for the good guys.?? He may tell you he works for the FBI or the security company or for any number of agencies?but this tech expert’s real employer is Robin Hood, er Nate Ford.? Equally comfortable on the ‘net or on the scene, for this geek it’s not about the pay… it’s about the payback.

Geek Consumption

Advances in medicine – advances in any technology – make for good television.??It is always the geek that turns the idea into reality.? They are the saviors who turns “hey, can you get me this information” into “we tracked you down – come out with your hands up.”? They come up with the procedure developed in a secret government lab can resurrect a dead spy. They design? prosthesis that can make a hero stronger and faster.? And they are the ones who identify?obscure diseases can?kill a patient or be cured in under 60 minutes.

It doesn’t matter?what the experts say, geeks – be they computer, academic, or medical – have forever altered the television landscape.?? Their shows grow exponentially and the public can’t get enough.

They have broadened the scope of the crime and medical genres beyond cops and doctor-nurse flings.? They have brought science to the forefront of the fights against crime and disease.? And most importantly,?they have introduced a new breed of characters to the audience.? They are characters?who let us look behind the scenes and?who shed light on what happens between the crime and the capture.

The Geeks.? Long may they reign.


Dr. Gregory House, House, M.D.? If there have been two people diagnosed with a disease that has stumped the medical world for decades, House will have the third.? With more memory than a roomful of Crays, a couple of symptoms are more than enough to provide a diagnosis and allow him to keep the dual crowns of Grumpiest and Smartest Doctor on TV.

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