Examining the Rise of True Crime in Entertainment

The True Crime Obsession Grows

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Television or podcast, it's easy to get your true crime fix these days. That's because there's been an influx of true crime shows and podcasts that inspect and analyze both fictional and real-life cases of crime.

What does our obsession with true crime say, legally and socially? Some people question the growing fascination we have with this type of media, suggesting it glorifies criminals while dishonouring victims.

Interestingly, one researcher found that women tended to more often consume this type of media and were seemingly more drawn to better understanding the psychology of the killers. Other psychologists have posited that the fascination is both natural and an important way for individuals to feel better prepared when potentially facing personal calamities.

The Implications of True Crime

This media has even had some pretty serious implications.

The Netflix show Making a Murderer, for example, saw a murder conviction overturned and a couple of bids for re-election lost. It gave the viewing public an up-close view of how murder cases are constructed and convicted. And that's just the tip of the true crime iceberg.

Netflix recently released another hit show entitled Dead to Me about a fatal hit-and-run accident. There are things it gets right, such as the emotional turmoil experienced by both victims and perpetrators of manslaughter. Though, it could dig a bit deeper in really examining the nuance between manslaughter and murder.

Then there's the podcast that's since inspired a television show: Dirty John. Perhaps following a series of real-life crimes means that it's a bit more realistic in its depiction of legal matters.

It allows listeners a glimpse into what could be described as almost a career of crime perpetrated by one disturbed man. One surprising aspect of the timeline of events is the discrepancy between how much time John is repeatedly sentenced to and then actually serves.

For the hit podcast Serial, reporter Sarah Koenig reported on the murder case of Adnan Syed in real-time. The podcast gripped the nation. And, an HBO series further followed the case.

In this case, the media strayed a little too close to the action. The administrative judge of the Baltimore Circuit Court issued a rebuke after HBO decided to air footage of its court's proceedings.

These shows and podcasts provide an up-close look at the legal system for those that might otherwise have little knowledge of it. However, they also occasionally provide a view that might be a little less than totally accurate.  

Sharron LawsonComment