Sunday, 19 February 2012
The two basic kinds of crime drama
One-off crime dramas tend to focus on the kinds of crimes that create the most anxiety among the viewing public (murder and serial killing in particular). They are distinguished by which aspects of law enforcement they focus on, for example a police inspector, a team of detectives, a psychologist or a lawyer. Long-running TV crime dramas will have a variety of sub-plots over time that help build up more sustained audience interest in the relationships between characters (for example, the detectives in The Wire; amongst the detectives and between the detectives and the legal profession in Spiral; Tyler and Cartwright in Life on Mars). Each crime drama will have its own unique representational aspects that are not directly related to the crime being investigated. According to the theorist Levi-Strauss, narratives will involve binary opposites and the conflicts will help the story development and engage the audience. Several key binaries are set up by media representations of crime: • Crime/ the police • Criminals/ the criminal justice system • Lawyers versus courts • Social workers versus the police • Victims versus the police Can you think of any more?