Duties always include determining the cause, time, and manner of death. This uses the same investigatory skills of a police detective in most cases, because the answers are available from the circumstances, scene, and recent medical records. In many American jurisdictions any death not certified by the person's own physician must be referred to the M.E.
On the Law & Order series M.E.s, are often used as a source of information during police investigations.
- Assistant M.E. Cardillo examined the body of Emily Sullivan. After he finished his preliminary investigation, a car from the M.E.'s office picked up the body.