Conventions of a television crime drama (UNFINISHED)


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Conventions of a television crime drama (UNFINISHED)

  1. 1. Dramas which focus on the lives of police themselves.. Examples include.. • Midsomer Murders • Lewis • C.S.I • A Touch Of Frost Dramas which focus on theDramas which focus on the work of other crime solvinglives of individual detectives professionals; examplessuch as; include..• Sherlock Holmes • Silent Witness• Columbo • Waking The Dead• Miss Marple • The Mentalist.
  2. 2. Series Crime Dramas and Special Dramas.In series crime dramas, you will see a narrative per episode, where thevictims tend to change, but the detectives and policing characters stay thesame.Special crime dramas are usually not displayed in a series, and they are oneoff crime shows which are aired for a period of time in the same night, orsometimes over a week, the special dramas like keeping characters the same,and following the codes and conventions of a television crime drama, exceptthey are more to the point, and can focus on other aspects of crime.
  3. 3. What you would expect? • Angry policemen • Shocked suspect • Interview room • The story of the police trying to find the criminal • The close-up camera shot of the policeman’s fist • Serious intense music • Dim lighting to add impactKey terminology; Narrative: usually closed episodes (i.e. a story each episode), 3 part structure (beginning - crime is established, middle-Non Diegetic; Sounds that solving it, end - resolving the crime and making an arrest), aaren’t present crime (usually a murder), set pieces such as discovering the body, making an arrest, chase scenes, interviewing suspects.on screen but you can still Character: police detectives, private detectives, crime teamshear them, and they usually (e.g. CSI). Often duos of crime solvers - a main detective andfit with what’s happening a sidekick. Main detective tends to be clever but cold, sidekick is the "brawn" and is more relatable. Women oftenon screen. play scientific roles and the victims. Setting: often city settings but some rural settings. PoliceDiegetic; Sounds that are stations, interview rooms, police cells, dark empty streets,present on screen crime scenes. Style: Naturalistic and realistic - uses realistic props andand match with the events noises, music is used to add effect to dramatic scenes, oftenthat are taking quite dark and
  4. 4. Plot structure, typical patterns or twists, the relationship between plot structure and placement of advertsTreatment of themes: realistic, farcical, superficial, complex, sensitive.Technical aspects - camera work, lighting, special effects, stunt work.Editing - what is the pace of the action within the show?Sound - sound effects, music, silence.Sets, costumes, props (cars)Values - what values were embedded in the shows?Advertisements - list the advertisers; identify the target audience; describe and analyse the ads appeal (visual, auditory, humorous).Characters - describe the major characters; identify stereotypes (social, cultural, racial, gender-related).Mass appeal techniques - jolts per minute, choice of characters, choice of actors, issues, events, music.Time slot - time (prime time?) and day of shows, program competition, programs on before and after, the rating of shows from Nielson, Television Trends,or the daily newspaper (ratings are published four times a year).
  5. 5. C.S.I – A drama which focuses on the lives and work of police themselves.Character Types;Possible character types include; hero police officer, hero police woman, villain, strange detectives, bad tempered detectives who are ableto solve a crime quickly, double act detectives - e.g. Starsky and Hutch, forensic detectives, medical professionals, phycologyconsultants, FBI agents, Lawyers, Informants. Victims and Criminals.In programmes like C.S.I, usually the victims story is shown in present tense, but when a murder/crime occurs, it is shown in flashbacks,as though the viewers are meant to relive the trauma that the victims go on, and go on a journey with them as their story is explainedthroughout the episode.It is stereotypical that a crime drama involves victims and criminals. New victims are created in each episode, and detectives/policeofficers stay the same. Actors that play the victims are replaced, and forgotten after the next episode is shown. But during an episode of acrime drama like C.S.I, the audience will sympathise with the victims, because they will become attached to the storyline within theepisode, and want the criminal to be punished for the crime they have committed.Criminals are also replaced in each episode, which is expected, because they need to be punished for whatever crime they commit in anepisode. However, sometimes, writers may choose to include a particular criminal in another episode which links to the episode in whichthey were first in. Playing a criminal doesn’t have to mean that the character is evil, but the writers of the show usually make the characterso that they are disliked, on purpose. The criminal character can be arrogant, have no feelings/show no emotion, and appear hard facedto the viewing audience, this is done to reflect the role that they are playing.Before criminals are fully arrested, they are detained in custody, which is part of the police interrogation that usually happens in eachepisode. You will typically have two police officers, one who will be kind to the suspect, but only if they cooperate, and then there’s a badpolice officer who tries to intimidate the suspect and ‘bully’ them in to a confession, or to say what they know about what crime has beencommitted.
  6. 6. C.S.I – A drama which focuses on the lives and work of police themselves.Narrative:C.S.I is a long standing American crime drama which has been on air since October 2000. Crime dramas tend to tell a story for eachepisode that is shown, The writers of the show may choose to show two stories In the show which may link to the other case.Programmes like C,S.I encourages the audience to engage with the programme, and the plot of the episode. C.S.I running time isusually an hour per episode, and during this time, the audience become involved with the plot, and want to find out whathappens with the involved characters.Although usually episodes are shown for an hour, to build up suspense within a certain episode, writers may choose to displaythe episode over a 2 hour period of time, or a special, where viewers are enticed in to view the crime series again in a week toconclude the previous episode, and to find out who’s guilty of committing the crime. A narrative of a crime drama usually follows a structure, of how the episode is supposed to turn out in the end.. For C.S.I this includes; An opening teaser; Before the show fully goes in to the plot of the story, the audience are shown a dilemma, which, for crime drama is usually a murder, as writers tend to focus on things that would create the most worry amongst an audience, but still being able to draw them in to watch the drama. This usually shows a murder taking place, but it doesn’t show you who is the murderer, it usually is a silhouette of someone so the audience are unable to tell who the murderer is. This is a good technique, which is particularly used in crime dramas because it instantly makes the audience want to find out what happens next, until they reach the end of the episode and the crime has been resolved. C.S.I may also show a blip clip – where the audience are shown a few seconds worth of the crime happening, and then the scene will change, where the narrative begins, and the audience then have the chance to follow the plot with the detectives , and build up their own thoughts and opinions on each character, and who they think is guilty.Quest; Throughout the duration of the show, viewers go on a ‘journey’ with detectives, where the detectives are set a ‘mission’ during theepisode, and it is their job to solve the crime, facing problems, to make the programme more appealing to the audience.Set Pieces – This is something that has been planned in immaculate and careful detail, to ensure that the programme seems as real aspossible. In C.S.I – this could be the backgrounds used, for instance, the laboratory for testing DNA samples, or it could also be creating theset for the police cells/interrogation room.
  7. 7. Suspense; Suspense is used to build, and create tension in a crime series. This usually makes the audience more involved with the episode,and involved with the story that the characters are going through. When writers attempt to build up suspense in a crime drama like C.S.I,they tend to do it over a 2 hour episode, so the viewers don’t‘ find out immediately what is going to happen next. A typical suspensebuilder would be for instance when; Detectives think that they have arrested the right person, for a murder, but they haven’t, and there isstill a killer ‘on the loose’ – who sets about murdering more people. They will often fade the 1st episode to black, before showing the nextepisode is shown, revealing the consequence. Cliff-hanger; A cliff hanger is used in a similar way to suspense, the drama that has been created just before the ending of an episode, will usually run on in to the next episode. Suspense is created from the problem, and how the C.S.I detectives will solve the problem, but episodes are usually left on a cliff-hanger for effect on the audience.Enigma; This is usually a person who features in the programme, who speaks in riddles, and usually warns the victims what will happen tothem, sometimes the enigma of the episode ends up being the killer. They also speak to the detectives in the poem, but make no sense,which makes the detectives confused, and makes their job harder to complete.Enigma; This is usually a person who features in the programme, who speaks in riddles, and usually warns the victims what will happen tothem, sometimes the enigma of the episode ends up being the killer. They also speak to the detectives in the poem, but make no sense,which makes the detectives confused, and makes their job harder to complete.Clues; Throughout the duration of an episode of C.S.I. – clues are given to detectives. Some are less obvious than others, but help to piecetogether the crime in the end. The clues are given throughout the episode, even if the crime has not yet been committed, this is a techniqueoften used, where suspects/friends flash back to a moment they recall which ends up being a key part in the case. The programme gives outclues because it is also another way in which the audience can get involved. Conflict; Conflict usually occurs In the middle of an episode, and it is usually between a detective and suspect, although, it could also be between two suspects, which adds more mystery to the episode. Conflict for two suspects could happen at the start of the episode, when a person is murdered, one of them begins to feel remorse, and the other one doesn’t, which provokes an argument, and also an emotional response from the reader. However, it could be between two detectives, who have a disagreement over a case, and argue who is guilty, and who is not. Dramatic Irony; This is where the viewing audience know more about what is happening in the episode than the characters do. A situation in which this occurs in C.S.I is when the audience are able to figure out, or are shown, who the murderer is in the episode. As this is structured so that the detectives go through a process of beginning a case,Resolution; An ending is made, after the detectives reach a conclusion. The criminals are arrested, and sent to prison, and the victim’sfriends and families get closure, and the detectives/police officers are satisfied knowing they have done their job properly.
  8. 8. C.S.I – A drama which focuses on the lives and work of police themselves.Setting Setting is a big part of crime dramas such as C.S.I, as viewers would expect to see the typical things you associate with crimes, the police, detectives, investigation rooms etc. There are many different locations for C.S.I to be filmed, and they are therefore named after where they are filmed – C.S.I New York, C.S.I Miami or sometimes just Crime Scene Investigation. Setting helps to illustrate different events which happen in an episode. So in C.S.I, it is expected that you would see; • Where the crime happens • Police visit to the victims house/apartment • Forensic teams in labs examining evidence they find • Investigation rooms • Police cells • Criminals house/ place of workStyleC.S.I uses a lot of hints towards what the plot of the episode is. This can be hinted using how a person presents their self on screen, and howthey act. Different aspects can impact on style such as;Camera editing/how a scene is filmed;Different camera angles can be used to hint how the scene should be shown. For instance, a dark scene, and an over shoulder shot couldindicate that whoever the character is in the scene is being secretive, and being followed. If there is a disturbance to the scene then thecamera angle will change, as though that particular part of the episode is shown from a character’s perspective. It is typical that in C.S.I,shots like landscape view so that the viewing audience can see on a wide scale what is happening in the scene. They may also choose touse angles like close up and extreme close up to create tension within the scene.
  9. 9. Style Music; The chosen music in an episode can impact on how the mood of the scene is portrayed. In horror films, this is a key aspect to engage the audience and build up tension so that the right response is made by the audience. For instance, in The Woman In Black, you here non diegetic sounds which add an effect to the scene. When Arthur Kipps keeps hearing noises from a mysterious location, he begins to be more curious to find out where the sound is coming from. This provokes a reaction from the audience as well because they’re waiting in anticipation to also find out what the noise is that Arthur Kipps is hearing. In C.S.I the typical music that is featured on an episode is put there purposely to add impact to the reader. You may hear sounds that are typical to where the crime drama is set, so New York is a place notorious for noise and lively activity, meaning you may hear the car horns of impatient taxi’s and drivers, police sirens, and conversations between people. If a particular scene is meant to have an impact, they may use a piece of music that isn’t upbeat, for instance when a death happens, you can tell that everybody in the scene shares the same mutual mood of being down, and upset about the death that occurs, and this is usually at the end of an episode, so it is an overview of the events that have happened, and dull music is used to reflect the mood of the characters.Lighting and ColourLighting is also another key aspect to hint towards the feelings in a scene, and what is about to happen, dim lighting may have the same effect aspathetic fallacy, where the weather indicates the immediate mood of the scene. Dim lighting may be associated with an interrogation from policeofficers, or it may symbolise that a character is being secretive/private as they walk through the darkness. Different types of lighting is associatedwith different situations that may occur within one episode.Here are some examples as to what types of lighting are used to create desired effect on the audience. Dim Lighting Bright Lighting • Death • Happy moods • Interrogation • To make the criminals feel uncomfortable • Characters being private/secretive • Make what’s happening in the scene obvious to audience • Abandoned place • Associated with the setting and expectations of New York • Adds mystery to the scene and provokes a • Although the scene is bright, it could indicate that response from the audience, making them something sinister is about to happen in the next scene and anxious for the characters involved. the audience are just waiting in anticipation off it happening. This is built up by the other effects such as music, and how the camera is used within a scene.
  10. 10. Dramas which focus on the work of individual detectives.Narrative:Miss Marple is different from other crime drama series’ but has some set similarities. The structure of the episodesare the same, but how Miss Marple progresses throughout each episode and reaches an eventual conclusion isthrough different methods. Miss Marple is similar to mystery dramas like Rosemary and Thyme, they both reach aconclusion through observations and common sense.In each episode, the audience begin to see that Miss Marple isn’t “The brains behind the operation” , as she takes aless central roll to focus on her suspicions within an episode, although through her observations she is the one tosolve the crimes, it is left to other characters – (The Police) to catch the criminals and arrest them. Miss Marpledoesn’t interrogate suspects, or do anything that you would expect in a crime drama that follows police detectives.Because Miss Marple is an unusual character type for a detective, suspects/criminals aren’t aware of Miss Marple andthe observations she gradually builds up to reach a conclusion towards the end of the episode.Miss Marple episodes are usually structured over a 1 hour period, in which a crime happens, and it is also resolved.There may be some exceptions where the episode duration is carried out over a 2 hour period, or it may be anepisode is shown at the same time every week. Although Miss Marple is meant to be a detective who worksindividually to solve crimes, there are also some exceptions in episodes which Miss Marple will meet characterswhich she enlists to help her solve the crime in a certain episode.