Just Why DO We Love Those Crime Thrillers?


Turn on your TV and you’ll find at least a dozen shows about law enforcement of some sort—from the alphabet soups of “CSI” and “NCIS” to age-old classics like “Colombo” or “Kojak,” crime shows have been a staple of entertainment for nearly as long as television has existed.
And it’s not just on TV. Crime thrillers rank among the hottest-selling genre in fiction. In fact, as of 2018, crime fiction became the best-selling genre in the UK.
So, what is it about crime that draws our attention so much?

Why are we such addicts to stories, movies, and TV shows about criminals and the law enforcement that hunts them? answer: they’re our contemporary “heroes.”
Heroes of Yesterday Become the Cops of Today
Trace fiction back to its earliest roots, to the ancient lore and mythologies of primitive cultures, and you’ll find these stories revolved around heroes—mighty warriors, champions of battle, and gods and demi-gods—defeating evil, slaying monsters, and bringing justice and “good” into the world.
Over the history of the world, fiction has evolved apace with the evolution of culture. That means the heroes of those fictional stories have also evolved.
Take the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey,” written by Homer. While they feature gods, monsters, and myths, many of the heroes were human warriors. Flash forward a thousand years, and a fully human “Beowulf” is the hero of his saga. A mighty warrior, no doubt, yet without mythical powers. Jump forward to the era of Alexandre Dumas, and you have four stalwart Musketeers in an era of no myth or magic, simply politics, religion, and human villainy.
Over time, the “heroes” we love to root for have evolved. Mighty warriors were the main heroes in a warlike culture, but in societies that prized intellect and learning, the heroes became those who brought in new ideas and championed virtues, even if they never raised a sword.

Read the entire article in the March 2019 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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