No Hypodermic Needle. No silver bullet.
The scripts gravitate toward the big headline cases that are also the generators of political controversy.
When not ripping plots directly from the headlines, the episodes very often take on highly politicized and
nationally divisive issues: abortion, date rape, black communities, etc.
THE WAYS WE GET POLITICS FROM LAW AND ORDER
The show presents both sides equally strongly and when the show goes off the air, people start arguing with
each other. It‖s good for the civic dialogue the country must have to remain free. No one should corner the
market on righteousness, for dramatic reasons and for the health of the republic.
L&O AND NATIONAL POLITICAL DISCOURSE
The testosterone-generated tensions of the earliest casting permutations—which some viewers continue to
evince nostalgia for—has given way to the contact zone grapplings of a late twentieth century diversified
L&O: THE CAST
Repetition. Formulaic structure.
That underlying assumption is that the U.S. criminal justice system works. The ponderous opening statement
about ――the criminal justice system‖‖ is a claim for its efficacy
This belief in the efficacy of the system is a cornerstone of classical rights-based liberalism; the conviction that
structures of checks and balances can be relied upon to sustain a rights-based democracy and to restore the
equilibrium of that order when it is threatened by players who break the rules and violate its integrity.
LAW AND ORDER AND THE ORDER OF THE LAW
Moreover, and this is obvious, the idea of fixing the system so as to eliminate racism in the application of the
death penalty still leaves us with the death penalty—leaves us, in fact, with a less constitutionally and morally
vulnerable death penalty.
SELF CORRECTING SYSTEM
Two important institutions – policing and science – stand somewhat discredited today
THE DECLINE OF SCIENCE AND POLICING
The frameworks of understanding about crime are unnoticed then, because they refl ect dominant, taken-for-
granted assumptions, but they, in turn, perpetuate those assumptions and, in so doing, perpetuate cultural
views about crime and criminals
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Good Vs Evil. Justice Vs Crime.
Their presentations are couched in notions of good and evil, and these binary opposites act as emotional,
moralistic hooks that draw an audience for news or drama
COMPLEX PLOTS, SIMPLE REPRESENTATIONS
CSI circulates a set of cultural meanings about the police: they are competent, they are a team, and they are a
moral authority that stands against social disorder.
The cultural meanings are clear. CSI, like the crime genre generally, reinforces stereotypes about who is and
who is not deserving of our moral sympathy
CULTURAL MEANINGS IN CSI
CSI and its spin-offs thereby circulate cultural meanings about the infallibility of science
Criminals typically are selfish, venal, remorseless people, so no causal explanation of criminality is needed.
The idea that there is a social context in which crime occurs is not an issue or is depicted as a farcical one.
CULTURAL MEANINGS IN CSI
What is interesting is not so much the accuracy of the scientific procedures as the fact that CSI presents them
in such a realistic fashion that fans (and experts) try to find fault with them
REAL, UNREAL, REALISM
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