Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The CSI Effect

If there were no cops, prosecutors or defense attorneys, the television airwaves would probably be far less crowded. Over the past 60 years, these professions have dominated prime-time schedules. Why? They offer formulas ready-made for drama: A brand-new conflict is presented to the protagonist each week, promising to be full of mystery, intrigue, and ... predictability. Viewers can rely on the fact that near the end of the viewing hour, one crucial piece of evidence will appear and lead to the capture of the elusive killer, or to the acquittal of the wrongly accused defendant. Then comes the philosophical musing that wraps everything up neatly, providing a clean slate for next week's episode.

Real life is rarely so cut-and-dried. And while some may argue that cop and lawyer shows are merely entertainment, actual cops and lawyers claim these shows can make their already-difficult jobs even harder.


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