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Cracking the Case on True Crime

November 4, 2019

With Halloween right around the corner, people have been getting into the holiday spirit by doing scary activities and consuming scary media. 


True crime TV shows and other media are favorites to consume year-round. According to an NBC article, Symphony Advanced Media reported that 7.8 million people watched the season finale of the Netflix series “Making a Murderer”, which covers the case of Steven Avery, a man who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and murder in 1985. The true crime podcast “Serial” had five million downloads as of 2014, according to Apple Podcasts. 

But what is true crime, and why do people enjoy these shows? 


According to Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Regina Armstrong, Ph.D., “True crime are criminal acts that have taken place throughout the United States or world and are show-cased through actor portrayal in documentaries.”


Some true crime shows like “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS” are based on real cases and are exaggerated, according to Armstrong. Other shows like “Forensic Files” present the case and how it was solved. Either way, the gruesome details can be sensitive topics for some viewers. 

So why do people like these shows despite the gore?


Armstrong said, “Many people are fascinated with human behavior and want to understand why some individuals can do horrific/heinous acts while others are law-abiding individuals. Since behavior and why people act the way they do is so mysterious, people are attracted to this type of behavior and shows.”