Over the past six decades researchers interested in the crimes of the powerful have developed a respectable body of literature. Owing to the empirical and theoretical richness of these contributions, the crimes of the powerful sub-field is ready for critical interventions to be made on the plane of scientific method. Moreover, such interventions have become increasingly necessary owing to the disciplinary hegemony of an orthodox empiricist approach which erects a problematic boundary between empirical representations of the crimes of the powerful and theoretical explanation. To aid a critique of this approach, this paper will employ the scientific framework of classical Marxism to decipher the peculiar problems which flow out of the orthodoxy’s method. It will be concluded that while classical Marxism offers a more rigorous framework for penetrating analyses of the crimes of the powerful, orthodox scholars have nevertheless made significant contributions which should also be utilised in future research.