CSI: Cyber – The Inspiration Behind CSI’s Newest Spinoff Series

Meet CSI’s newest inspiration, Mary Aiken. Mary Aiken is a cyberpsychologist and the director of the Cyber Psychology Research Centre in Dublin. Mary Aiken is the inspiration for the main character of CSI’s new spin-off “CSI: Cyber” Special Agent Avery Ryan. In the show, Avery Ryan is the head of the FBI’s cybercrime division, which focuses on the intersection of technology and human behavior.

CSI Cyber and Cyberpsychology

In an interview with the NY post, Aiken says,

“Nobody was more surprised than me when I was invited to CBS. I’m very passionate about my discipline, cyberpsychology, and my research in the area, but I never thought my work would inspire a lead character in a prime-time ‘CSI’ show.”

Unlike her onscreen persona, Aiken doesn’t work for any law enforcement agencies directly. However, her expertise has given her the opportunity to advise agencies like Interpol, the LAPD, and London’s Metropolitan Police on issues like cyber security, cyber stalking and virtual behavior profiling. In the pilot episode of the new series, the premise is about a babycam being hacked, and an online auction, where babies are kidnapped to order. This episode is based on a real crime where a father found that his daughter’s babycam had been hacked, and someone was verbally abusing her while she was asleep.

Aiken isn’t just the inspiration for the main character of the show; she’s also a producer. This means she is involved in all stages of the writing process, from brainstorming to revision of the final script. Aiken says that she doesn’t want the show to become more than something else to watch. She wants it to be a conversation starter for parents to talk to their kids about online security, and how to stay safe. According to Aiken, It would be quite difficult to commit a crime these days that didn’t have some type of cyber impact. In terms of crime analysis, we’re looking at the digital fingerprint. If you come back to the basic premise of forensic science, I’ve been sitting here, I’ve touched the table I’ve left a fingerprint. There’s the evidence. In no place is this more true than online. Every contact leaves a trace.

The producers of CSI: Cyber are trying hard to stand out by being entertaining and enlightening without creating paranoia. In an interview with NPR, Akin went on to stress this point.

Look, this is entertainment but our intention is not to induce paranoia in terms of the use of babycams. The intention is to say look, consider the logic and think about security and think about safety…

I think that our show takes quite a moderate approach in terms of its not very gory, it’s not very horrific. But people like to be scared. If you went on a roller coaster and it went from … A to Z, and it was flat — well, you wouldn’t enjoy the ride. Well, good programming is about a roller coaster ride: it’s up and it’s down and we want a happy ending. But we’ve worked very hard to ground our show in reality, the reality of cyber.

Will you watch CSI: Cyber?

Featured image from Shutterstock.

A UNC Chapel Hill graduate, blockchain enthusiast and analyst. I have a background in programming and IT, strong studies in econ, stats and game theory. I'm interested in online privacy and privacy laws.