Like so many students the idea of registering for my first semester of college classes was daunting. What classes should I take? What do I want my schedule to be like? The list of questions goes on and on. Here at the University of Richmond there is another important question for first year students. Which first year seminar do you want to take? For me this was one question that I didn’t need to ponder long. At first glance through the possible course titles, one automatically jumped out at me, “Cops, Crime, and Popular Culture”.
The genre of crime is not a particularly new interest for me. Growing up in my small Pennsylvania neighborhood, games like “cops and robbers” was a favorite way to spend hours playing outside on countless summer days with my three siblings and our friends. As those childhood years passed and we came to outgrow “cops and robbers”, my interest in crime was only beginning to blossom. When we got a few years older and began to enjoy watching crime shows on TV, such as NCIS and Criminal Minds, my sister and I once even decided we would become special agents and save the world from the “bad guys” just like we saw on the shows. This dream too eventually faded, however the interest in crime and TV never really subsided.
I will be the first to admit I love watching crime shows. This is a big reason as to why this class caught my eye. From SVU to Criminal Minds and everything in between, if it’s on TV I’ll be watching. It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason as to why I love these shows. It might be the adrenaline rush of the crime itself, the mystery and intrigue of the case, or the satisfaction that comes from catching the criminal, but in the end it comes down to the entertainment of it all. More than just entertainment, crime shows depict the classic struggle of good vs. evil and more often then not good prevails in the end. I enjoy that out of this struggle and victory the shows manage to create “happy endings” even if they come out of unhappy circumstances. The drama and excitement that these types of shows depict for their watchers is almost addicting, I am always left wanting more and with each new episode I relive all the excitement once again. TV shows such as SVU, Criminal Minds, and NCIS, which are my personal favorites, easily appeal to a wide variety of audiences, spanning different races, genders, and age groups; there’s something for everyone.
The opportunity to take a whole college course dedicated to learning more about such an interesting topic to me was too good to pass up. The chance to examine popular representations of police and crime from different angles than I previously have is appealing to me because I will get to take something I am interested in and get a deeper understanding of it in a different light. I will go beyond just TV shows to see what can really be uncovered about this topic’s relationship to bigger issues such as race, gender, age, or class. I hope that through use of the tools I acquire in this class and expression of my own ideas and opinions I can share with you my interest in cops, crime, and popular culture.