SAC 366 Final Paper

SAC 366 Final Paper - Showtime's Dexter and FX's The...

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Showtime’s Dexter and FX’s The Shield: the Cop Show Versions of Jekyll and Hyde Sasha Wang SAC 366 Television Genres Candace Moore Final Paper 12/16/10 Cop shows have certainly evolved since its generic debut of Dragnet with its stylistic influence from the semi-documentary. The 21 st century can be referred to as a
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postmodern era because television genres have transformed into hybridized pastiches. Authentic genres have become a rarity and the constant need for reinvention in a competitive television industry has necessitated the mixing together of them. Dexter (2006) and The Shield (2002) are two prime hybrid examples of present-day cop shows. Bryan Appleyard quotes Tom Waits’s song, “Devil in the Hole” in the Sunday Times to reflect on the evolvement of cop shows: “‘You gotta keep the devil way down in the hole.’ But how? And who and where is the devil, anyway? That, in a nutshell, is the modern American television cop show. The world has gone wrong. The devil’s out of his hole.” The initial plan was to argue how the immoral traits of male characters in Showtime’s Dexter and FX’s The Shield have furthered the feminist movement in American culture. Dexter and The Shied do not seem like the most obvious shows to use in making an argument about feminism, but it was easy for a young, optimistic female college student to assume that themes of masculine corruption would implicitly give women a more respectable persona. Dexter 's main protagonist, Dexter Morgan, is male while The Shield's recurring cast is male-dominated with very few female characters. It is worth mentioning that both television shows present police forces whose professions are to maintain law and order in their cities while their personal lives contrarily illustrate controversy and corruption. Dexter Morgan is a forensics blood splatter analyst for the Miami Metro Homicide Department while he is secretly a "dark passenger" of the night who murders serial killers. The Shield's police team is set in a fictional town called Farmington in Los Angeles County. Detective Vic Mackey, who heads the force, is the epitome of a dirty 2
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cop whose tactics involve breaking laws in order to expose criminals. Although both Dexter and Mackey have redeeming qualities that make them good protagonists, there is no denying that they, too, are criminals. This masculine unethical professionalism does in fact implicitly imply feminine morality, but only when not taking the supporting female characters in Dexter and The Shield into consideration. These women actually appear to act far from morally. Textual analyses, academic research, and reviews regarding the characters in Dexter and The Shield provide a new thesis that although women now have a presence in cop shows, they do not necessarily reflect a positive feminine image. Before discussing the characters in these two recent shows, putting them into a
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SAC 366 Final Paper - Showtime's Dexter and FX's The...

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