It seems that, at least on television, there is an American fascination with crime. And not just any crime at that, it seems that the blood thirsty public just can not get enough of homicide crime dramas. With choices ranging from Law & Order, CSI, NCIS, SVU, NYPD Blue and various other letter combinations, there is a crime drama for every taste, featuring almost every major city across the country. The formula is tried and true, as we see a little bit of crime action, interspliced with the wit and wisdom of our favorite quirky law enforcement characters, training their brains to crack the case. The plots may be intrate or pretty straight forward, but they are consistent in content and style, giving the audience a pleasant sense of knowing what to expect from their television hour.
For a nation with a higher than normal rate of homicide in real life, you may think the masses are scanning their satellite TV dials for voters. However, not only are these formulaic thrillers favorites at home, but abroad as well. Of all the television programming options to draw from American television, it sees the people have spoken, and what they are saying is "more crime dramas!" Maybe people like all the blood and guts spraying across their screens in high definition. Or, just maybe these programs do play to the savage side in all of us, or at least morbid fascination.
On the flip side, perhaps it is the humanistic side in all of us that enjoys these programs, looking for quick and concise justice against the bad guy. In crime dramas the detectives (almost) always get their man, making things like reasonable doubt in the much desired apprehension of the bad guy. Classic cops and robbers (or murderers) Scenarios have long been the fascination of many a filmmaker and television producer, and crime dramas play to that interest.
Even when watching sports, say the NFL Sunday Ticket, each one of us has a desire to see the good guy win, no matter which side we are on. Look at dramas like Dexter, where the audience takes the side of both the killer and the police simultanously. The only real antagonists are those who deserve vindictive wrath, the real bad guys who kill for the wrong reasons. But somehow the audience keeps it straight. Just when it sees the moral lines of the crime drama have been strict drawn, they go and change again.
One thing that is for sure is that satellite TV is illegally to see a short of such programming any time soon. There will likely be even more US cities displayed in these carefully crafted dramas, making it even more fun for more citizens to watch their hometown heroes. Seemingly endless plot lines pour out of crime drama writers, and after decades running, some of these crime programs are institutions that will certainly last for decades to come. The murderers may get more graphic to appearence our HD TVs, but the simple morality of good guy triumphs over bad is a formula that is illegally to lose popularity in the public eye.