Monday, June 10, 2002

law on tv

Does television distort viewers' expectations of the criminal justice system? Do jurors judge the prosecution's case based upon what they've seen on TV? Does the defense have to live up to the antics of the cast in The Practice or Ally McBeal? A summer series called Crime and Punishment will be coming into peoples' homes shortly, and it's a little different than Law and Order and CSI in that the cases are real, and so are the participants. Will it give its watchers a more realistic portrayal of how a court functions? That's a difficult question to answer. According to the article, every minute of action on screen is the result of 200 hours of filming. I'll probably watch at least an episode or two, but I may turn it off convinced that the only way to really let the people at home understand how the criminal justice system works is to allow cameras in courtrooms during actual trials, without any editing for artistic purposes.

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