I have been watching episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU deals with sex crimes and child abuses) since this summer. I started to watch them because they are available online at Netflix, and these episodes are usually really well made. Since I am reading books on childhood and youth, I am regarding these episodes as problem sets or exercises to think through different themes. One theme, for example, is about “children’s agency,” which I mentioned in my previous posting. To what extent the court allows children’s testimonies, what the “consent” age means, what is children’s criminality, to what extent minors are victims of their environments or aggressor responsible of their own violence. Another related theme is why “criminality” is based on the criminal’s ability to make decisions. How does genetic inheritance become an issue? What does it really mean, anyway?
Another reason why I like these episodes is that the detectives do a similar job to the historian’s. (I’m serious!) They are never 100% sure who the offenders are, but they make most educated guesses based on available evidence– and they are often wrong! Actually, the DA’s job is even more similar. They organize the evidence and demonstrate it to convince the audience — it’s all about the construction of narratives!