2. Who Are The Characters In Crime Drama?


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2. Who Are The Characters In Crime Drama?

  1. 1. Characters in Crime Dramas
  2. 2. Recap: typical characters <ul><li>Crime dramas usually include three types of character: </li></ul><ul><li>The ones who solve the crimes (detectives, private eyes, police officers, forensic scientists). </li></ul><ul><li>The ones who commit the crimes (rapists, criminals, murderers, thieves). </li></ul><ul><li>The victims (the ones who get murdered, attacked, robbed, beaten up, mugged). </li></ul>
  3. 3. The crime solvers <ul><li>Character types and stock characters: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The grumpy detective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The sidekick </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The troubled police officer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The crooked police officer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The brilliant genius </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Watch these clips. Which character types / stock characters can you identify? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =H2ignoBlhpE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =cSQq_bC5kIw </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Comparing crime solvers Personality Way of speaking Appearance Anything else? Relationship with sidekick Clothes / costume <ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =cSQq_bC5kIw </li></ul></ul>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =H2ignoBlhpE Watch the clips again Sherlock Luther
  5. 5. Adding interest to the lead character <ul><li>It is almost typical now that the lead crime solver will have a complex and troubled personal life. In this clip for Comic Relief, Robbie Coltrane (Cracker) and Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect) compare their characters. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =FrSSvOrI860&feature= fvsr </li></ul><ul><li>What are the typical ways that characters show their complex and troubled life? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson <ul><li>Watch the clip where the actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, talks about playing the new Sherlock Holmes </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =qR5Dyt2CwNY&feature=related </li></ul><ul><li>Why do audiences enjoy watching Sherlock? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relationship between Sherlock and Watson? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relationship between Sherlock and the Police? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Crime solvers <ul><li>Can have the programme named after them (eponymous) </li></ul><ul><li>Can work in pairs where they are equal </li></ul><ul><li>Can have a lead player and a sidekick </li></ul><ul><li>Can be an ensemble drama (where a team of crime solvers work together to solve the crime) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Lead? Pair? Ensemble? <ul><li>Research the following programmes and work out what kind of crime solvers the programme features. Label them as L, P or E: </li></ul><ul><li>Starsky and Hutch Law and Order UK </li></ul><ul><li>Sherlock Holmes The X Files </li></ul><ul><li>The Wire 24 </li></ul><ul><li>The Bill Monk </li></ul><ul><li>CSI: Mami Rosemary and Thyme </li></ul><ul><li>Scott and Bailey Morse </li></ul>
  9. 9. The criminals <ul><li>The crime solvers are central characters who are in every episode / series. The criminals are often transient characters: they only appear in one episode or one series, because they get caught at the end. The next episode has a different crime to solve and a different criminal. </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Victims <ul><li>Like the criminals, the victims are often transient characters, appearing only in a single episode. Even where the victim is dead, the episode may still revolve around finding out about the victim's lifestyle and habits, and may feature the victim’s family. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Identifying the characters <ul><li>Watch this clip of CSI:Miami </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =HgoqmG69RJg </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the crime solvers? Did you get the impression it is a lead, pair or ensemble set up? </li></ul><ul><li>Who was the main focus of the clip? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the criminal? </li></ul><ul><li>Was the criminal a typical criminal? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the victim? </li></ul><ul><li>Was the victim a typical victim? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Stereotypical characters <ul><li>The crime solvers may be stock characters, but they often avoid being stereotypes. Not all the crime solvers are middle-aged white men. This is because they are the lead characters – they are complex and well-developed. But what about the more transient characters? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How are criminals represented? Are they usually shown as men or women? Any particular racial background? From any particular social class? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are victims represented? Are they usually shown as men or women? Any particular racial background? From any particular social class? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there stereotypes of criminals? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there stereotypes of victims? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do stereotypes make us believe that certain types of people are more likely to be criminals, or more likely to be victims? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Good vs. Evil <ul><li>The theory of Binary Oppositions, by Levi-Strauss suggests that all stories are basically about a conflict between good and evil, heroes and villains and so on. </li></ul><ul><li>In TV crime drama, the binary oppositions are usually clear: the crime solvers vs. the criminals. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Common binary oppositions in crime drama <ul><li>Good vs. evil </li></ul><ul><li>Heroes vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>Victims vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>Criminals vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>Police officers vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>Truth vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>The law vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>Bad police officers vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>Innocent vs. _____________ </li></ul><ul><li>Watch this advert for Law and Order UK and try to work out some of the binary oppositions: </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v = ZtTWmOPGtSY&feature =related </li></ul>
  15. 15. Unclear binary oppositions <ul><li>In some programmes this opposition isn’t so clear: the crime solvers become ambiguous, (not completely good) and some criminals may commit crimes for good reasons. Some victims may be presented as innocent, or as partly deserving their fate. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the binary oppositions change over a series: those who started out as good become less good, those who seemed criminal at first turn out to be good guys. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Unclear binary oppositions <ul><li>Watch this clip of CSI:Miami </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =XdABsmb6brE&NR=1 </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the characters: crime solvers; criminals; victims. </li></ul><ul><li>Are the binary oppositions clear here? </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping the binary oppositions unclear can make the narrative more complex, more intriguing and add more suspense: who is the criminal? Is the criminal actually on the side of good? Was the victim also a criminal? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Summarise <ul><li>Summarise the key points about characters in TV Crime Drama </li></ul><ul><li>Use these words: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>lead, pair, ensemble, criminal, victim, sidekick </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Try to use these too: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>stereotype, eponymous, represented, binary opposition, transient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching TV Crime Drama www.devonldp.org </li></ul></ul>