Changing Nature of Television Crime Drama Essay

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"There are too many cop shows and they are becoming all the same. The same stories, the same lighting, the same camerawork, same dead bodies."

- Peter Ansorge, 1997.

Given the diversity of concepts and setting of crime dramas currently being produced this comment may or may not seem as convincing as it may have been when authored.

Take one crime drama series and investigate the respects in which it both: 1) reworks established crime drama formula and conventions; and 2) offers novelty in terms of such aspects as concept, characterisations, episode structure and visual style.

In 1997, Senior Commissioning Editor for Drama on channel four in Britain, Peter Ansorges', made the comment, that there were too many crime dramas, and
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Meaning achieved through symbiosis between ideological assumption and dramatic structure (MacMurraugh-Kavanagh, 2000).

The classic "detective story'' tends to involve a detective(s) piecing together evidence from a crime and finding the perpetrator. The offender generally confesses and surrenders to authorities, (Sutton, Britts & Landman). The traditional "trial narrative", like the Perry Mason stories, often follow two simple scenarios; either a key prosecution witness breaks down under the pressure admitting that they are the actual villain, or the defence present a surprise witness or key evidence which highlights the real criminal, (Sutton, Britts & Landman). Conventional crime drama invokes crime as the very mainspring of its action; therefore it tends to build up tension in terms of pure conflict of uncertainties, (Thompson, 1959).

The concept of joining these two narratives was previously seen in the 1963 series, Arrest and Trial also used the technique of two shows in one, (www.allyourtv.com). However "Arrest and Trial" was different on a couple of counts. It was a 90-minute drama, an anomalous amount of time even tat in that era, secondly the way the crime was covered also differed.

Arrest and Trial, starred
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