In a world of phony cold-case TV dramas, an LSU professor has been the real thing.

Mary Manhein built at LSU the lab and team of forensic anthropologists that are consulted about real-life dramas; she is “the bone lady” who can bring back the faces of the dead.

She retires at the end of April, having built the FACES Lab into a nationally famous institution. Disaster victims have been identified and their grieving families have obtained closure. Criminals are brought to justice because of her work. It’s been a career far more interesting than a quickie television drama.

Those will be very large shoes to fill, and LSU and Louisiana are fortunate to have had her.