Our Obsession with Violent Crime

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I have developed a bad habit recently. When I come home after work, I grab a quick bite toCSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION eat and flop down on the couch and turn on my TV. I have a fleet of TV shows that I must watch before I get on with anything else. That’s about 3 hours of my precious time wasted on fictional characters. In any case, this all started when I accidentally caught an episode of Criminal Minds that airs every weekday at 6PM (now at 5PM AND 6PM which is a blessing and a curse). I immediately developed an intellectual crush on agent Reid, agent Morgan makes my brain fire electrical signals into the most inappropriate places and Garcia is just plain hilarious. Of course, that’s all superficial.

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What really draws me in is the fact that they always seem to have an incredibly captivating plot line. I never get bored with it. There is just something about these sick, twisted people who are able to commit horrid crimes and then still look at themselves in the mirror. What is it inside them that drives them to do these things?
criminal-mindsWhat is interesting is that Criminal Minds is not the only show on TV that concentrates on the topic of violent crime. Following that show, Bravo also airs Flashpoint (Canadian drama about SRU *special response unit* that often have to talk crazy dangerous people out of killing their hostages), there is the Mentalist which is similar to Criminal Minds, then there is Missing, and so on and so forth.

My point is, these shows wouldn’t exist if the audience wasn’t fascinated with them. So what is it that makes us so interested in watching shows that deal with such awful situations and even worse people?
Well my opinion, and this is not revolutionary or anything, is that we are all sick and twisted on the inside too. But knowing that we can control our urges and not go on killing rampages gives us a certain reassurance. If you think about it though, it’s pretty weird to enjoy watching a show the deals primarily with killing people in pretty brutal ways. I suppose the important question to ask ourselves here is who do we most associate with in the show?

The bad guys or one of the cops that always comes to the rescue of the victim? Or do we associate more with the victims? I think this would be an interesting observation that could reveal a variety of things about our psychology.
Don’t start feeling all sick and perverted about yourself, though. These shows have been credited, on a few occasions, with being the reason that someone’s life was saved. Apparently, these one hour episodes don’t just eat away at our time, they also teach us how to behave if you have been abducted, or how to stop bleeding from a wound. You may be surprised when you find yourself using this knowledge.

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I also enjoy watching Criminal Minds because it teaches me new things (and not just about saving lives). I have learned a lot about how body behaves when it is under stress, I have learned a lot of interesting historical, scientific, and even archaeological facts.
I feel that this post is getting much too long. I could write a paper on the subject. In any case, I feel I have justified my addiction to criminal dramas…. and agent Reid.

So, who do you associate with from these shows?

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