Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

Television (NCIS)

In the previous two posts, I began to draw a map of all the connections among a variety of television shows which concentrate on terrorism. The connections are not only at the level of plot line, but among actors who move from show to show.

The following MISSION STATEMENT appears on the CBS web site:

"The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)--the Department of the Navy's (DoN's) primary law enforcement arm--is in the midst of a transformation. No longer is the traditional reactive law enforcement model adequate given the complex and increasingly blurred terrorist, intelligence, and criminal threats to our Navy and Marine Corps. To counter the evolving threats, NCIS has implemented a new, proactive strategic plan, which emphasizes preventing terrorism."

The mission statement blurs the connections between TV drama and reality, an in-between or middle space within which the "war on terrorism" becomes an overarching metaphor for how TV relates to and depicts everyday life. These connections are all foregrounded by what I described in the previous post as some fatal flaw that is always discovered about the terrorists, a flaw which leads to the situation being resolved, even if (as in "24") some people die.

The question is, what is the purpose of this retooling of television drama and storytelling? What does this suggest about the intersections of popular culture and real life?