News and Entertaiment: Crime Scene Exacerbators

Crime and EntertainmentCable network TNT is reportedly releasing a series this summer entitled “Cold Justice”. The series, featuring Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler and crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary, will reopen abandoned cases of violent crimes; with a combined 68 murder cases and 7,000 criminal cases, respectively, the duo aims to finally bring at-large criminals to justice with the latest crime-fighting technology. Executive production credits for the show go to Dick Wolf, the creator of crime-drama’s flagship series, Law & Order.

In a television culture that relishes in the delivery of justice, it won’t be surprising if Wolf’s new brainchild meets a warm reception. Shows like Law & Order as well as the countless iterations of the CSI brand earn their success by simulating newsworthy events where justice is always swiftly and thoroughly delivered to the fictitious perpetrators; the show’s added reality element should make it fit nicely within the tastes of America’s viewers.

However, it is interesting to see how little variation there is in America’s taste. Families will gather around their televisions for a news hour that details violent happenings around the world, only to remain seated when a series about more violence is scheduled right afterward. Rather than keeping our informative and entertaining media separate, we’ve allowed the two to blend into one large nebulous viewing experience. In a poignant blog on media coverage, Grits for Breakfast suggested, “Crime used to be ‘news’, but now it’s treated by the media mainly as entertainment.”

Crime receives some of the most sensationalized coverage of any newsworthy topic. Devastating stories about domestic violence and school shootings receive priority attention and are covered for weeks and weeks after the events have happened. Is there new evidence about the issue? Typically not. Are there any new developments, at all? No, but we “stay tuned” in case there are.

So this summer “Cold Justice” hopes to satisfy our thirst for what media coverage can’t give us. Where media coverage lures us into weeks and weeks of viewing with no guarantee of judicial gratification, “Cold Justice” steps in and lays down the law. It’s almost as if entertainment and news are engaged in some kind of dance where one compensates for what the other lacks; it’s as if the two are merging before us into one big show.

Photo: dhammza

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