‘Nothing but the Truth’: Genre, Gender and Knowledge in the US Television Crime Drama 2005-2010

Ellison, Hannah (2014) ‘Nothing but the Truth’: Genre, Gender and Knowledge in the US Television Crime Drama 2005-2010. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Over the five year period 2005-2010 the crime drama became one of the most produced genres on American prime-time television and also one of the most routinely ignored academically. This particular cyclical genre influx was notable for the resurgence and reformulating of the amateur sleuth; this time remerging as the gifted police consultant, a figure capable of insights that the police could not manage. I term these new shows ‘consultant procedurals’. Consequently, the genre moved away from dealing with the ills of society and instead focused on the mystery of crime.
Refocusing the genre gave rise to new issues. Questions are raised about how knowledge is gained and who has the right to it. With the individual consultant spearheading criminal investigation, without official standing, the genre is re-inflected with issues around legitimacy and power. The genre also reengages with age-old questions about the role gender plays in the performance of investigation.
With the aim of answering these questions one of the jobs of this thesis is to find a way of analysing genre that accounts for both its larger cyclical, shifting nature and its simultaneously rigid construction of particular conventions. Building on the work of Jason Mittell this thesis sets out to engage with the way genres manage to lay claim to diversity while maintaining an ineffable quality of recognisability.
In order to do this the thesis in the main is a case study of six different shows from across the genre: Bones, Lie to Me, The Mentalist, Psych, Ghost Whisperer and Medium. Through narrative textual analysis of both the shows and their ancillary and para-texts a case is made for additions to Mittell’s work. I posit a theory based on a continuum of graduated articulation. This is a way of mapping conventions prevalent in a genre without reducing them to a selection of identical aesthetic or narrative tropes. As part of this the method re-centralises narrative in the understanding of television genre.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film and Television Studies (former - to 2012)
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2014 14:16
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2014 14:16
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48772


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