revised_tv_crime_article_jan_2016_002_.doc

Ncis in common with military and espionage themed

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NCIS – in common with military and espionage themed shows – frequently presents such scenes of movement through unknown and potentially dangerous environments both directly and via screens within screens. Such mediated scenes of action (if you will) foreground the possession of surveillance technology and visual communication systems that enable operations to be simultaneously relayed to headquarters. Viewers see ongoing operations directly, via the various screens in the M-TAC room (for example, Navy SEALS in a tense scene of action in “Patience” [09x12]) or a combination of the two. The military setting of NCIS allows investigators privileged access to data such as surveillance equipment, although there are frequent disputes with other agencies; indeed while the show is framed by a reverential attitude towards the military and the Marine Corps most particularly, agencies such as the CIA are treated with suspicion. At other times members of the team are themselves on the ground, as in “Engaged” (09x09) in which Gibbs and Ziva travel to Afghanistan to assist in the search for a missing Marine. Both are involved in the raid that rescues her from her captors. 16 Such sequences foreground the military aspect of the team’s work and the battle-readiness of the investigators, the extent to which they are ready for action. While this is to some degree novel, the coupling of forensic and action modes had already been exploited extensively in CSI: Miami (2002-2012), by some way the most action-driven variant of the franchise. These action qualities are evident in the signature use of split screen to enhance visual dynamism and the frequent action sequences including the onscreen playing out of violent crimes (in addition to discovered elaborate scenes of violence common to crime representation). Action qualities are equally evident in the characterisation of CSI 12
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Miami ’s male lead, Horatio Caine, as charismatic cop hero in sharp contrast to the paternalist scientist, Gil Grissom, of the original Vegas-set CSI . While neither a military nor a forensic action/crime show, The Blacklist shares a number of the formal features discussed above in relation to NCIS . Episodes involves fast paced action scenes (gunfights, storming of buildings, chases) and multiple sources of data channelled and visualized into the unit’s headquarters. In “The Troll Farmer” (03x01) Red has hired the title figure to assist them in eluding capture by planting false sightings through social media, aiming to manipulate the stream of data to their advantage. Lizzie’s movement through the city streets and the (false) logging of that movement via digital media – a fiction that Ressler, Lizzie’s former FBI partner, is able to see through – stages evasion and pursuit across multiple domains culminating in an improbable scaling of the Russian Embassy to seek security. In the following episode “Marvin Gerard” (03x02) Ressler engages in a high speed pursuit to release Keen from an embassy car when he is warned by Red of the danger she faces.
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