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Cultural Studies

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Cultural Studies and "Forensic Noir"

According to Thomas Doherty, American pop culture can't get enough of the highly graphic and intense forensic thrillers on prime time television. This genre is known to many people as "forensic noir". The same style appears in all of the shows; someone gets killed, forensics play a game breaker, criminal gets caught, and then the case is closed.

Doherty states, "Cultural-Studies Intellectuals" have been mapping the forensic noir that has led to a revitalization of detective shows and prime time television. Michel Foucault, a French philosopher is responsible for starting this phenomenon by inspecting bodies and turning them into "objects of knowledge" for the whole world to see.

Doherty also believes serial killers came about in the late 20th century hiding in the shadows and taking lives for no apparent reason with out remorse. They are a product of mobility and anonymity in our culture. After cops could not catch these serial killers, they turned to the science side of the house for help. The scientists started DNA databanks to match crimes and killers. This profiling led to many authors writing books on all types of violence and profiling the violence. This also spawned the "body genre" where people started looking into the body as an unknown.

There are some very distinct differences between "film noir" and "forensic noir" Doherty points out. Film noir concentrates on the why and body heat, while forensic noir concentrates on mystery, murder, and stiff bodies while rejecting fate in the story. Forensic cops are practice scientific method more than anything. Forensic noir dives into the real life cops and focuses on postmortem issues. There is a usual routine in the forensic stories today as well; cold body on the slab, coroner eating when body is laying there, rookie pukes, and audience has a good laugh. There has been an advance in graphic imaging allowing very graphic scenes to make its way...

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