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There are thousands of books, films, and TV shows on the subject of real or fictional crime. Whether its modern crime or serial killers, through the ages there remains an interest.
I ask this while watching a high octane, highly explosive cop film, namely bad boys. The usual theme is followed of bad guys commit the crime, good guys try and either stop them or catch them and in the end good guys win. As in most films, you know from the start who committed the crime and it’s up to the cops to stop them.
Many books and TV shows tend to keep you guessing till the end. Books don’t have the visuals to keep you going so need to keep you thinking. Even if you, as the reader, know who committed the crime the coppers work it out much later.
The usual idea is that there’s bad people in the world but the good guys tend to win in the end, good conquers evil. The only time the bad guys survive the film is if there’s a sequel or there’s a new tv series to come. Things like the Gotham crime series has the same crime fighters but a myriad of criminals working for other masterminds.
From Poirot and Miss Marple onwards, many stories have been written about crime and criminals. With these early stories, the lack of technology available meant the detectives had to physically detect. In many of the older books the detective or sleuth stood in front of the suspects, describing how they solved the crime. The final words being the dramatic revealing of the guilty party. This ending has moved onto technology often being integral in the detection, the criminal being caught through fingerprints and DNA samples rather than just be a thoughtful detective or amateur sleuth.
The thrill for readers or viewers was to see if they had worked out the guilty party in the same way as the police had, preferably before the police. With the shows that reveal the criminal earlier the attraction is watching the cops find their person and bring them to justice, or in the flashier and more explosive films and TV shows kill the bad guys or occasionally take them in to custody
Some of the longer running crime series introduce more about the characters involved in order to keep you interested and watching. Though some series struggle after a while to remain credible without major overhaul. Many American shows expand the story-lines by focusing on how the police find the answers, through working on the evidence and what they do to process it. The technology tends to help cut corners in the story-line and operates far quicker than in real life but is integral to the story. They also use the court process as well to show how the criminals face justice in court and how the legal system works.
The attraction of real life crime is for those with a historical interest or morbid interest. The TV shows are watched by millions who want to see who did what and how they did it. From Victorian killers through to infamous American serial killers. They discover how they were found and how they committed their crimes, though of course there is extra attraction if they weren’t caught or if their true identity is questioned.
With cases such as Jack the Ripper, the killer’s identity is still being questioned to this day. It means books and films can be made questioning and reevaluating the story, giving the opportunity to make money for writers and experts who want to look into this old case.
Even consider the assassination of JFK, this was a crime and still is of massive interest. It was reported at the time as a single gunman but was it in reality a complicated conspiracy. Films, books, magazines, and the internet has taken this case apart from the time it happened onward. At first everyone believed the one gunman story but since the Zapruder film was released, it became less and less likely this was the case. This was the film that showed JFK being hit by the shots, his head seemingly going back then forward. Obviously, it would be a be impossible for a bullet to hit someone on the front of the head and then the back from one gun. Whatever happened it is one of many popular crime stories that will retain interest for years to come.
Many people have used the idea that committing crime will make them famous, including numerous serial killers. This is why so many killers seem to come from quiet backgrounds and are the ones the neighbours will say were quiet. They wanted fame and to be noticed so took extreme measures to get the fame. There are of course better ways to be noticed but notoriety is appealing to some.
The interest will last for years to come, from amateur detectives to those with just a passing interest. Many books will be written, many dramas made and much money will be spent. As the song says, “killing is my business and business is good.”