Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Courses

FILM3028 Crime TV: Technologies of Detection

Module Overview

Crime detection is prolific on television; a topic discussed across news and current affairs programming, documentaries, reality TV and, not the least, numerous crime dramas. This module examines different type of crime investigation narratives on television, providing you with tools for analysing the dynamic and contested cultural roles of crime TV. We will engage with diverse theoretical approaches to the relationship between crime detection and television, enabling your active participation in both popular and academic debates on this topic. In order to unpick the diverse cultural meanings that saturate and circulate different programmes, we will study their wider socio-historical contexts as well as cultural reception. Doing so, we pay particular attention to the specific aesthetic forms, narrative structures, figures, settings and themes that characterises televisual portrayals of different crime investigation practices, but we also consider genre linkages to literature, radio, cinema, and digital culture. Approaching the study of crime TV from the unique perspectives of film and television studies, this module will also highlight television’s contributions to the wider discursive construction of moving-image creation as a key technology of detection in modern culture.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to: • Examine and explore different types of crime detection narratives on television and provide some insight into their historical development • Introduce critical approaches to, and theoretical debates about, crime television • Enable you to think critically about television’s portrayal of crime investigation practices • Enable you to analyse the relationships between televisual crime detection narratives and their wider socio-historical contexts • Inspire you to analyse television programmes other than those directly discussed in the module and apply relevant theoretical approaches when doing so

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • You will be able to demonstrate appropriate levels of knowledge and critical understanding of a wide range of televisual crime detection narratives
  • You will be able to demonstrate appropriate levels of knowledge and critical understanding of the aesthetic forms, narrative structures, figures, settings and themes that characterises televisual portrayals of crime investigation practices
  • You will be able to demonstrate appropriate levels of knowledge and critical understanding of crime TV’s genre linkages to literature, radio, cinema, and digital culture
  • You will be able to demonstrate appropriate levels of knowledge and critical understanding of different theoretical approaches to the relationship between crime detection and television
  • You will be able to demonstrate appropriate levels of knowledge and critical understanding of scholarly debates on crime television
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will be able to engage critically with different types of televisual crime detection narratives
  • You will be able to participate in and contribute to scholarly debates about crime television
  • You will be able to apply and critique different theoretical approaches to the relationship between crime detection and television, in order to perform your own analysis of relevant television programmes
  • You will be able to independently research and conduct in-depth analysis of television programmes, considering their wider socio-historical contexts and cultural reception
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will be able to select, organise and deploy ideas and information in order to formulate cogent arguments and express them effectively.
  • You will be able to research appropriate resources independently
  • You will be able to conduct critical analysis
  • You will be able to organise your time effectively

Syllabus

The syllabus will typically cover topics such as: - The portrayal of different types of crime investigation practices and technologies on contemporary television. - Different types of crime dramas (such as police procedurals, profiling shows, forensic crime dramas, and long-form serial dramas). - Different types of factual genres featuring crime investigations (such as news programming, reality shows and true crime documentaries). - Differences and similarities between British and US programmes. - Differences and similarities between crime investigation narratives on television and in other media (such as literature, radio, cinema, and digital culture). - Some genre theory and genre history. - Crime investigation as a narrative and thematic trope. - The wider historical and cultural contexts of these narratives. - Diverse theoretical approaches to the relationship between crime detection and television from a number of scholarly fields (such as film studies, television studies, media and communication studies, gender studies, criminology, and social sciences).

Special Features

No special features.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

1) Lectures that will examine and explore different debates and approaches relating to the topic of the week and discuss relevant television programmes in relation to their wider socio-historical contexts. 2) Seminars with group discussions to further develop your critical understanding of the material as well as you rhetorical and analytical skills. 3) Screenings that will typically include material from multiple television programmes to better allow for comparisons between the medium’s diverse crime detection narratives. 4) Opportunities for individual tutorials where the tutor provide feedback on the first assignment and support you in the process of writing the second assignment. Learning activities include: • Independent study, research and viewing • Critical thinking, reading and writing • Engagement in seminar discussions as both speaker and listener • Preparation of written assignments.

TypeHours
Teaching40
Independent Study110
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Deborah Jermyn. Crime Watching: Investigating Real Crime TV. 

Sue Turnbull. TV Crime Drama. 

Contemporary British Television Crime Drama: Cops on the Box. 

Helen Piper. The TV Detective: Voices of Dissent in Contemprary Television. 

Jason Mittell. Genre and Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 75%
Essay  (1000 words) 25%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×