Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show is taking aim at the depiction of police – and police brutality on TV, hoping to start a large scale conversation about what those depictions mean, and how they program us to accept certain types of behavior.
I’ve watched a lot of the shows he mentions, and I admit I’ve watched them without thinking wait that’s not right for far too long. And I would like to assume they’ve been written in that way too, by people not thinking about the message they’re sending. Except, it’s time to think. It’s time to change the message. It’s time to have these conversations.
The clip includes Bones‘ Booth and Brennan, Chicago P.D.‘s Voight, Hawaii Five-0‘s Grover and Reigns, Law & Order: SVU‘s Benson and Stabler, Lucifer‘s Chloe and NYPD Blue‘s Sipowicz, all using unnecessary violence to “get answers.”
“Every cop show makes it seem like the reason cops have to beat suspects is because without the beatdown, they won’t tell the truth, and so those beatings protect the rest of society from these lying criminals,” Noah said, only to then explain: “But in real life, beating a suspect is a great way to get them to confess to something they didn’t do, which means you’ve locked up an innocent person — and you’ve let the real criminal walk free.”
We know TV is “a powerful tool that shapes how the public sees the police, shapes how the public sees the police’s role in society and how accountable they should be” and that comes with responsibility, particularly in this moment in time.
Brooklyn 99 already scrapped the episodes they had written for next season, hopefully with the idea to address the problems and become agents for change. All procedural cop shows should think about doing the same. If not, well …they’re complicit, aren’t they?