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The Criminalization of Late Sixties Militancy in Television Police Procedurals

The Criminalization of Late Sixties Militancy in Television Police Procedurals

Chapter:
(p.157) Chapter Five The Criminalization of Late Sixties Militancy in Television Police Procedurals
Source:
The Bad Sixties
Author(s):
Kristen Hoerl
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496817235.003.0006

This chapter analyses episodes from three television police dramas that were inspired by the publicity surrounding radical militant groups including the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army, and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Episodes of Law and Order, Life on Mars, and The Chicago Code integrated political rhetoric and journalism coverage of radical militants with the generic conventions of the television police procedural. The chapter argues that these programs conflate radical ideology with violent criminal activity. This conflation cultivates norms of democratic citizenship that call for uncritical assent to law enforcement and suspicion toward dissidents and has troubling implications for contemporary protest movements.

Keywords:   television police procedural, The Weather Underground, Law & Order, Bill Ayers, political violence

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