Columbia, SC (WLTX) One of the most popular shows in the Midlands is called "Bull." It chronicles the life of a trial consultant, loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw.
But the Midlands has our own real life "Bull." He's Trial Consultant, Carey Crantford. Even though he says the show might be a little full of it, it's still entertaining.
Cranfort says what the show portrays, is not exactly how it is in real life. "You know there is a veneer of reality in the "Bull" show. But its entertainment." Crantford says his job is a little more complex. He tells News 19, "Because of there are so many restrictions involving interaction with cases and who you can talk to, and what have, that it in no way shape or form, really mirrors the true reality of what happens. Its exciting, and it's interesting and fun but ultimately it's entertainment."
Crantford says the real trial consultant's job is helping their clients get the best possible outcome. He says "Our job is really about helping attorneys, clients, understand what messaging works, how they can frame things for people to understand them and who among a jury profile, is likely to hold biases or different opinions about the case depending on what the fact pattern is."
Knowing the jury and how to present arguments often takes both qualitative and quantitative research and knowledge. Crantford says that part of the job might not translate so well for TV. He says, "in the show he's a character. He's not an academic sitting there pouring over data, and then coming up with kind of arcane observations about things. Which is more to our world. So they've taken a jury consultant and they've kind of made him a CSI type of character which is a wildly popular show it captivates people in terms of the puzzle that is being presented."
Crantford wasn't always a trial consultant though. It was a plane crash that pulled Crantford into this career. Before he was a marketing and political researcher. He was first hired as a trial consultant in the trial for U.S. Air Flight 1016 that crashed on July 2, 1994, killing 37 and seriously injuring at least 16 others in Charlotte.
Crantford was hired by the plaintiffs, the families' attorneys. He says, "That was the first, very large case that involved multiple victims and because it was interstate commerce, it was a federal case."
Crantford's task was to help the attorneys figure out how to best present technical information to the jury in a way they could understand it and, based on a jury survey, what in their personal backgrounds might help in that.
Crantford says this career is still developing and the show will most likely raise its popularity. He says, "It's been a lot of fun. It's always something different. We work from death penalty cases, to medical malpractice, to significant aviation cases. Its always something different."
Most recently Crantford was hired in the initial trial for the North Charleston Police Officer who was charged for murder in the shooting of an unarmed man as he ran away. He says the Michael Slager case presented some significant issues. He says, "Issues were how much the public had already made up their mind because of the over playing of the cell phone video showing a portion of the incident, not the entire incident."
The thing Crantford's real life job and the show "Bull" do have in common is that the trial consultant is figuring out a puzzle and using that information to help his clients. Crantford says, "Everything is a puzzle. This matters and that matters. How does this fit in?"
Although he says his real life may not be as exciting as Dr. Jason Bull's, Crantford says his career is fascinating and extraordinarily rewarding because it's real. He says, "What we do connects with real people's lives on both sides of things. And so to play a role in that is absolutely fascinating and rewarding. Win or lose."
"Bull" airs Tuesday nights right here on WLTX.