The Real Crime is How These Shows Deceive Us


Not only do a large number of teens and adults love crime shows, but they basically eat them up. The drama, action, romance, and mystery make it almost irresistible. What the majority of people who watch these shows don’t think about is how painfully inaccurate they are.
Criminal Minds is one of the top crime shows (a handful of seasons are available on Netflix), and the show I will be analyzing for this article. 

There is much to love about the FBI team the show focuses on. The audience is carried along with the bad-guy catching and charismatic attitudes in every role. Dramas unfold and each character has a backstory, a well done work of film that leaves viewers wanting to binge.

Sadly though, most of the characters are far from the reality of FBI agents.

Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) is a character with a large presence. Despite not being in the middle of gun fights and action, she is an important part of the team. Garcia is another comedic relief and practically glows in glitter and rainbows when she is doing computer work for her colleagues.

No matter what though, her amazing personality can not cover up the details that are glaringly incorrect. She is able to hack into databases and find anyone anywhere whenever she wants. Garcia looks up cars and zooms in, the camera quality making license plates, extremely visible. As anyone knows from zooming in on pictures, image quality gets worse and photos of cars from afar will not have clear license plates to read.

a computer is not a magical box that can provide interested individuals with whatever piece of information that they are interested in

— Aiden Mason

Crime drama fans glorify the shows they watch, and even believe that certain things in the show are made up, original ideas. UnSub is the abbreviated version of ‘unknown subject’, referencing criminals that exist, but crime forces are not sure of the identity yet. Although it has been a term for ages in the crime force, Crime Magazine points out that “numerous claims that the term ‘UnSub’ was created uniquely for this show.”

The confusion of reality versus fiction is even impacting real life events. Jury members who watch crime shows are more likely to have extreme views of courtroom evidence, also known as the CSI Effect. “The prosecutors like the idea of fiber (or very specific) evidence in addition to everything else. Maybe they thought that the jury would like it because it is more CSI-esque.”

This unrealistic expectation has been the cause of many innocent people going to jail.

Dr. Spencer Reid is a part of the team because of his brains. He is young and quirky, many of his best traits coming from his place on the autistic spectrum. The comedy of his social awkwardness, genius, and determination makes him lovable and a huge fan favorite of many girls. When I met his actor in public (Matthew Grey Gubler), I even started crying. Mr. Gubler is also Simon in Alvin and the Chipmunks, and the author of Rumple Buttercup.

Even though crime shows are very skewed into more of a fictional genre,they are still very entertaining and an emotional roller coaster that many people enjoy.