Culture and Entertainment
So in the first few scenes of Luther (available on Netflix), we see a police detective let a killer of children fall to his death (when he could have chosen to reach out and save the killer’s life).
It was only after a few moments more into the show that I realized “Oh, they want me to feel some sort of vague horror/unease that a fictional police officer might do such a thing”.
More than that: a police officer who would do that is having some kind of a breakdown and needs treatment.Report
So I tell Maribou that I’m worried that I’m watching Dirty Harry. She tells me to keep watching.Report
Dirty Harry is a great movie. Yeah its way over the top and turns cartoonish at the end, but it’s well crafted. It is a clear trajectory from Bullitt to DH which led to most of action/crime movies since the 70’s. Sadly most modern movies have to much of the soulless dead eyed violence of DH instead of the humanity of BullittReport
Dude, I very much enjoyed Dirty Harry… but I’ve seen it.
(I’ve actually heard that you can measure the ebbs and flows of how society feels about crime based on which aspects they focus on. Are the biggest shows the ones about Defense Attorneys? Are the biggest shows about the District Attorney? The cops themselves? Prison? This makes me hopeful about Orange Is The New Black’s rise to prominence, if only a little. Anything that might take the wind out of the sails of Law&Order/CSI.)Report
I’ve heard that though i’m not sure i believe it. CSI, at least when i watched it 10 years ago, made a show of showing the cops to be wrong at times and forensics as neutral searchers for truth.
I’m not sure where Colombo fits in with that theory.Report
The quarry isn’t there anymore, but when i was young we used to drive past it several times a week.Report
Dude, you are NOT watching Dirty Harry. It’s a whole lot closer to Silence of the Lambs than Dirty Harry. Luther is way more nuanced than Callahan, and way more intellectual.Report
Perhaps he’s mentally unstable because of recurring dreams in which he’s a Baltimore drug lord oddly obsessed with parliamentary procedures.Report
Worse still, when he failed to save the life of a choking man because he kept yelling “Does anyone here know the Heimdall maneuver?”Report
Not to mention the one about commanding a squad of giant robots who fight giant monsters.Report
What really showed his mental derangement though was his insistence that for some reason Ridley Scott had made a nonsensical prequel to one of the most iconic, beloved and influential sci-fi/horror films of all time. That’s just crazy talk. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where that was true and not just the rantings of a lunatic [shudder].Report
Yeah, because we know cops would never do such a thing if they weren’t “sick”.Report
I think JB’s point is the the English have different assumptions about how police should behave than the US does.Report
American cops. British cops.Report
This. It’s remarkable to watch the show and see how everyone else in the force actually thinks they should follow the rules. In the US, cops not following the rules is considered a feature, not a bug. The rules are there to protect criminals from prosecution. The main lesson I got from Luther was how foreign that idea must be to a British audience.Report
To be fair, I think this theme extends beyond cop movies/shows – American media is, and has been, for a long time, in love with the romantic rebel against institutional authority, to a degree you just don’t see as much in British popular media. Even the biggest “British” hero, Bond, has his actions sanctioned by the govt. – he’s got a license to kill.Report
That’s a good point about 007, although I figured that the “license to kill” was also intended to make MI-6 seem more sinister. Real spies, of course, are a lot more like Smiley’s People than Bondjamesbond.Report
romantic rebel against institutional authority
But the romantic rebel in these shows is a police officer paid for by institutional authority and basically supported all along the way because he “gets results”.Report
Yeah, they’re more like rebels for institutional authority, which is weird. But then the US as an institution was founded by rebels, so maybe not so weird.Report