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Why Are We Obsessed With Crime Entertainment?

todayJune 18, 2020

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By Paige Greene
Web Content Contributor

Whether you have binge-watched Law and Order, Criminal Minds or followed one of the many true crime podcasts out there, it is easy to say that we all have gotten caught up in a spine-chilling true crime story before. The genre on Netflix continues to grow with shows like Making A Murderer, NCIS, and documentaries including Evil Genius and the recent hit, Tiger King. It is hard telling exactly why evil fascinates us. 

The genre seems to draw the same attention as drivers to a car accident. We all cannot help but slow down and stare at the wreckage, because something about the conflict of death or near death fascinates us. Similarly, extreme violence also draws the public eye. When the news is constantly broadcasting to us the latest violence and death it becomes hard to not be interested.

Michael Mantell, former chief psychologist for the San Diego Police Department, told NPR, “I think that we have been fascinated with the conflict between good and evil since the beginning of time.” This can easily explain why we all enjoy the typical hero story, but in the crime genre, does anyone really win?

Sadly, the crimes that we are most appalled and intrigued by are the most gruesome and brutal. I know when I hear the end to a chilling crime story, it is just as satisfying as finishing a puzzle. Is it because I am happy I am not the victim or perpetrator, or did I solve the mystery along with the real-life investigators? 

By the last episode of Tiger King, I was almost certain that Carole Baskin had indeed killed her husband all those years ago. Also, the terrifyingly charming yet creepy portrayal of Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile by Zac Efron was indeed shockingly evil. It is weird enough knowing Ted Bundy fooled so many people, but the fact that there could be more just like him is even creepier. Yet, I am continuingly fascinated and equally terrified by all the crime. 

There could also be a bright side to all of this crime entertainment.

The more we consume and constantly hear about the violence all around us, we could potentially protect ourselves from the same danger. I recently bought pepper spray and always walk to my car with my keys between my knuckles. Every time I hear creak in my house, I spring up on the edge of my bed and start looking around for potential danger. Could this be my paranoia from watching NCIS way too late?

I may never really understand why we enjoy true crime so much. It could be comforting knowing that the bad guys often do get caught.

Featured image by Paige Greene.

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