That Moment in a Crime Show When the Criminal Explains It All

I like to watch television.  It takes me away from reality for a while and lets me delve into the world of other people.  I know they’re fictional people, but they aren’t me!  I like crime shows because not only are they interesting, they also get me to think, and to formulate my own opinions about what happened and what’s going to happen.  Some of my favorite shows of all time have been Criminal Minds, Dexter, CSI, Law and Order, Bones and Blue Bloods.  These programs are interesting, but sometimes formulaic.

bonesThroughout the hour for these programs, the characters run through a set of clues and travel around their city to try to find out who killed/raped/maimed/stole/destroyed someone or something.  These characters spend time laying out their ideas, allowing me to try to form my own opinion about what’s going on.   Several suspects are always introduced and it’s not always easy to determine who might be the criminal.  I do have to remember, however, that these programs are written for Americans who, for the most part, are not the brightest people.  There are often parts of the program that are obvious, or the dialogue is filled with explanations about what the characters are doing (strictly so the viewer can understand it).  Many Americans (at least the ones who watch network TV) don’t like to think, and, therefore, the television programs have to accommodate that.

lawThis can get annoying to the few of us who like to think about the program we are watching.  Some of us like to put the pieces together and make our own determination.  No part of an American crime show is more annoying than the ending.  Usually in the end, the lead suspect is arrested or interrogated and they, all of a sudden, cop to everything and even go so far as to explain their method and motive.  This is ludicrous!!  This would never happen in real life!!  In real life, the suspects claim their innocence until they’re put behind bars…even then, they constantly claim innocence.  Nobody just gives the police information about the crime.  And what’s worse, is they usually do it without their lawyers present!

ncisThese crime programs would have us believe that suspects are so cooperative and ready to exclaim “my bad!” when faced with a preponderance of the evidence.  These programs insult the television-watching public enough by over-explaining processes and walking us through the evidence piece by piece, showing all the links as they go.  This is an insult to people’s intelligence, but it’s what most of the public likes.  The American public is, after all, providing them with ratings, which determine how much they can charge for advertising.  And, the American public likes things easy to understand and a little bit violent and gory.  These programs do that.  Perhaps that’s why they’re so highly rated.

csiI actually like to watch an episode of these programs and then turn it off right at the end, after they capture the criminal.  I don’t need to hear the story about why and how he/she committed the crime.  I don’t need the exasperated cries about how much they hated the victim, or how poor they are and how much they need the money.  This is irrelevant to the program.  However, it wraps it up nicely in the 42 minutes that I have been watching (I usually watch online without commercial breaks).  It gives closure to those people who need it; those vapid, brainless types who watch these programs for the shooting and the bleeding.  I think American television producers need to give their audiences a little more credit!


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