Cops Are Always the Main Characters
TV has long had a police’s-eye perspective that helps shape the way viewers see the world, prioritizing the victories and struggles of police over communities being policed. Order, a police imposed status quo, is good; disruption is bad. There are many, many reasons why a cop’s point of view has become the default way to frame national unrest, including institutional and systemic racism, the capitalist urge to prioritize property over human life, and a political system that benefits those already in power. But TV plays a role, too. The overwhelming mountain of cop shows amounts to a decades-long cultural education in who deserves attention, and whose perspective counts most. In stories of American crime, TV teaches us that cops are the characters we should care about.
By Kathryn VanArendonk, Vulture