Monday, June 27, 2011

The Authoritarian Crime Drama ‘Law and Order: Criminal Intent’

The American Culture, 6.27.11
S. T. Karnick

I suppose that I am somewhat unusual in never having liked the lead characters of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, nor thought the performances of Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe particularly appealing or praiseworthy. D’Onofrio, of course, was known for his excessively exaggerated performing style in his portrayal of the show’s lead character, Detective Bobby Goren, and I thought that Kathryn Erbe did a good but unimpressive job of depicting an essentially unappealing and uninteresting character in lead detective Alex Eames.

Both characters annoyed me in essence, I suspect, because they were such perfect specimens of a particularly common and grating type of contemporary American: the Priggish Urban Liberal-Progressive Busybody Knowitall Pseudointellectual Snob. And in doing so, the show conveyed a point of view based on authoritarianism, exemplifying the contemporary worldview that the political writer Jonah Goldberg calls liberal fascism.

I imagine that the unappealing character type at the center of Law and Order: Criminal Intent hardly requires any further description for most readers, as it thoroughly infests current-day TV news and talk shows, newspaper columns, Slate and the Huffington Post and other fashionable politico-cultural websites, contemporary art shows, your neighborhood Starbucks, and other such locales made repellant by their presence.

Last night’s episode on the USA Network, the last in the series, had a story line typical of the show’s ten-season run. Several people fighting over profits from a highly popular website are the suspects in the murders of two of the parties in the legal dispute over ownership of the site.Once again, that is, the culprits are big-business bigwigs, which makes for more interesting settings than the usual domestic violence or street crimes that most murders result from, but it is of course ludicrously fanciful for a show that has been fairly realistic in its depiction of police procedures (and which the producers seemed to take a good deal of pride in). In that way Law and Order: Criminal Intent was a thoroughly conventional example of the mystery-crime genre.

The show’s distinguishing feature was Det. Goren’s interest in pursuing each case through an unsystematic but highly intense amateur psychological examination of the various suspects, as suggested in the show’s title. These motives typically showed all Americans outside the East Coast elite as being infected with a variety of irrational and dangerous thoughts.
Full article

Thanks Linda!


8 comments:

maculae said...

He had me at: "the Priggish Urban Liberal-Progressive Busybody Knowitall Pseudointellectual Snob." Now excuse me as I go roll my eyes.

Music Wench said...

Wow, this guy's got his panties in a bunch. I think he needs laxatives. He'll feel a lot better.

mauigirl said...

Ooooh, I think someone is jealous of a certain very tall man.

Billygrl said...

Yikes! This dude had been watching way too much Fox News Channel. Oh, please! LOCI was never about making a political statement, but about solving crimes with a uniquely psychological approach. Better leave the snarky wisecracks to Eames! Wonder what Goren would make of this warped mind? LOL

Diane said...

If he's 'never liked' C.I. why is he wasting his precious time writing about it now....??

thereel said...

LOL Mauigirl - sure seems like it!

val said...

I don't think he's watched it at all - doesn't sound much like the programme I know and love.

awb said...

i think someone needs a hug
stupidity can cause brain farts

you can probably find his photo at

nothingbettertodobutF/withloci.com

or

ineedalife.org


btw


we love you kate and vince
we'll miss you both
look forward to seeing your new stuff

you've got my support

24/7


awb

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