TV Depictions of Police and Prosecutors


I’m currently working on an essay about television’s changing depiction of police and prosecutors. One point I’d like to make is that the moral lines between the good guys and the bad guys have blurred. Sure, Dragnet had the occasional nnocent suspect or rotten cop, but for the most part, cops were hardworking, played by the rules, and put the public ahead of self. And bad guys were not only guilty, but really bad. Fast-forward 58 years, and you’ve got The Shield’s Vic Mackey killing another cop and The Wire’s D’Angelo Barksdale being a pretty darn likeable gangbanger.

This point alone’s not enough to justify the essay. I’ll have plenty of highbrow commentary about how this change might affect the public’s perception of law enforcement. But, first, I want to make sure I’m being fair about the description of this evolution. What do you think? Are today’s television shows less black and white than they once were (and not just because of the color plasma screens)?

Note: By commenting in response, you grant me permission to borrow your point.

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