Your Crime Show Addiction Explained

Edited by Jasmine Ryu Won Kang

Over the past few years, it is safe to say that crime shows have become my most-watched and favourite genre of television. From shows like Law and Order to NCIS and even some true-crime mysteries, it seems to me that I have come close to watching it all. However, I've only recently asked myself why this is the case. It is not like these types of shows are terribly funny, and they usually have some pretty graphic scenes and intense storylines, so I always come to wonder why I and millions of others are addicted to watching these shows. I will attempt to explain, with the help of some basic research, why you and I are so intrigued by crime on television.

Crime shows have been some of the highest-ranked and most-watched shows on prime time television, and I have come to learn that those phenomenal actors that we see every week are not the only reason for our obsession. According to Time Magazine, we like to watch crime shows because it lets us experience the emotion of fear in an environment in which there is a nonexistent threat. We can allow ourselves to get immersed in the mystery and even be afraid for the lives of the characters without all of it actually happening in real life to us. We can let ourselves really connect with the characters on screen although we are not experiencing the same thing offscreen. This also gives us the opportunity to channel our inner detective and attempt to solve the mystery ourselves, knowing that we are not the ones being harmed.

As much as I enjoy trying to figure out the mystery of who did it while watching a crime show, I recently realized that I was also very attracted to the courtroom drama that will take place within a series, and after reading up on it, it seems that many others feel the same way as me. Decider.com spoke to a psychologist named Dr. Sharon Packer who explained that people are intrigued by the aspect of justice and injustice in the courtroom, as well as all the drama where TV lawyers discuss the evidence or have arguments on screen, and most importantly, the final outcomes on the guilt of a person. I know that for myself, there are times when I will watch Law and Order and see that the jury comes back not guilty and will go on to feel bad for the TV lawyers that they lost the case and think that the verdict was not fair. It is crazy to me that I could get this emotional and wrapped up in a situation that is not even real, but I have come to realize that this is why I and so many others keep watching.

In this world, when we have a major problem or feel in danger, we like to know that there will always be someone there to save us from all of it - this explains yet another reason why you and I will continue to watch crime shows. According to Vulture, even when there is a crime committed on show, we know that in the show, the police and other members of law and enforcement will come in and save the day, which provides us with high levels of assurance and trust in the system. At the same time, the police and lawyers in many crime shows easily become known as people’s superheroes, since we know that no matter what they will always be there. This is why people become attracted to strong characters who hold a lot of power but who can also successfully solve the crime. To me, this explains why I and others invest a lot of interest in main characters such as Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU or Gibbs on NCIS because even though these characters may come across as tough, we as the audience know that they are always going to come out as the heroes in the end.

I hope that if you are someone who is as addicted to crime shows as I am that this article provided you with some explanation for your addiction and for why it is so hard to take our eyes away from the screen when we know these shows are on. Also, if your family members or friends try to intervene in your addiction, you can now give them these reasons for it and explain that you are not the only one in this position. Despite all this, let us enjoy crime shows for what they are and use them to escape from reality once in a while.