Viewing the detection of earnings management from the perspective of a crime scene investigator sheds new light on prior research on earnings management and its close relative, earnings quality. The works of Ball and Shivakumar [2008. Earnings quality at initial public offerings. Journal of Accounting and Economics, in press.] and Teoh et al. [1998. Earnings management and the subsequent market performance of initial public offerings. Journal of Finance 53, 1935-1974.] are used to illustrate the application of seven components of a crime scene investigation to earnings management research.