While featuring very different aspects of the crime drama genre, all these programs place a great deal of importance upon scenes of tension and anxiety; for example the latter regularly shows the female main character venturing into deserted factories, abandoned houses, or open fields in search of a killer: the setting of this action is typical of postmodern anxiety in fiction.
Crime fiction and film play into these feelings as a natural part of their plot style and genre: "Intensity, anxiety, and suspense build to an exciting climax, often with the detective using his fists or gun to solve the crime" (Dirks, 2008). This might be described as an intense burst of psychological oppression and fear; Crime show series, however, need to combine that fear with a rolling storyline. Such shows use anxiety of real social problems to create a storyline:
Here, the author of one television series which ran for several seasons (Cracker, ITV), describes how a viewer's personal anxieties and anxiety-promoting experiences are used in crime shows to create feelings of tension and oppression in the context of a police drama. The detective in this series is himself beset with anxiety; psychological problems, stress within his family, and crimes set in tower-blocks and desolate areas; as noted above, this connects these series directly with anxiety in police fiction.
As Koski has noted in her work on American crime shows, many popular and well-known police series were initially resisted, as the audience felt that it produced too much anxiety: “When NBC screened the pilot to a test audience in 1980, they found the program too violent, depressing, and confusing” (Koski, page 18).
" (Koski, page 18). Despite this, however, Crime shows and series, particularly the long-running NYPD Blue and Law & Order, have proved particularly popular with the public.
Two sub-genres of the Crime show will be considered in this essay: the "Cop Opera", which is essentially a soap opera genre set in a police station, such as the UK's The Bill, and the Crime series, which in the UK might involve shows such as Cracker, Waking the Dead, and Murder City. These might be compared with US shows such as NYPD Blue (The Bill), Criminal Minds (Cracker), Cold Case (Waking the Dead) and Blue Murder (Murder City). I have attempted to avoid the forensics-focused show, as these have been repeatedly criticised for inaccuracy, sensationalism and poor portrayal of Criminal investigation
The Genre of Anxiety
Anxiety, as used in fictional work and by theorists, is a feeling of danger and oppression which emerges, sometimes from conflict, and sometimes from settings and environments; the extreme desolation of some cop shows, for example, produce an unconscious feeling of anxiety. In films such as Friday the 13th, this terror and futility is created through having the heroine creep down a long hall, with the