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Crime Programmes Past and Present Assignment

Z Cars is a very old crime programme, which was broadcasted in the 1960’s. It is shown in black and white and the slow movements of the camera and the small amount of editing show that technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now. In the extract shown there was little conversation to begin with. The police were presented as heroic people as it showed one who was killed in action another example of this is when one officer said “a good policeman is never off duty” this shows how the police were looked up to and that they had social power in the 60’s.

The actual footage shown of Z cars began in a cemetery, which was very dark and dingy, the camera kept very static and this gave the impression there was something wrong. It wasn’t apparent whom was the police officers until the man read out the card on the flowers then words such as PC and Sergeant were used which then notified the audience that this was a police program as they are signifiers of the police.

The footage then went to the police station and the atmosphere was a lot more up beat and the camera moved a lot more. It was obvious that the program was set in the 1960’s as the policemen were dressed in old-fashioned police uniforms also the cars they were driving were very old fashioned. I think it was set in London, as they seemed to have a cockney accent.

The iconography used was the police station, the uniforms, and figures of speech like PC, sergeant and ‘copper’. Z cars is very typical of the time it was broadcasted they had to show the police in a certain light and the stereotypical middle-aged white males took on the leading roles.

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Miami Vice

Miami Vice was a more modern example of a crime programme. It is an American series broadcasted in the 1980’s. This is made obvious in the extract as there are lots of bright lights (associated with the liveliness of the eighties) and the music and fashion are very 80’s style. The main characters are all male and middle aged again it is not made obvious until the action starts who the policeman is. It is very light hearted almost like a sitcom when it begins and the two men are reminiscing about old times and celebrating the birth of one of there children. This shows how they are both very close and that they obviously know each other very well.

In this scene no references are made to the police and apart from the gun and his body language when he draws his gun no iconography is used. The policeman again is stereotypical well natured and sensible. He resolves the problem using little or no violence. He is very quick to react to the problem and acts like a true policeman; this is how the police are signified. In the title no iconography of the police genre is used in the title instead it highlights things that are of an importance in Miami like the beaches, women, expensive cars and skyscrapers.

Charlie’s Angels

This is a very unstereotypical crime series as the three main characters are women they are all undercover agents who fight crime but they are also very attractive feminine women. It was the first of its kind.

Set in the 1970’s the cast consists mostly of women who are all attractive slim and white. The only thing from the clip that signifies they are some type of agent is the weapons they have in their hands or the positions in which they pose. It is very catchy music, which is also apt for an action program. The clip from the title is very ironic as the women try to present a strong image but the clips show them in a different more feminine light for example one is in a bikini, one is in a Jacuzzi and the other having knifes thrown at her. This is not a stereotypical use of iconography.

The Bill

The Bill uses a lot of stereotypical iconography and that is just in the title it shows technical instruments and technical codes used by the police. It is a lot more up to date and is a lot more modern than the other programmes shown. It began in the 1980’s and shows a lot more social realism than other crime series like Charlie’s Angels. Lots of iconography is used to signify that it is a police drama the title consists of blue flashing lights, which are associated with the services. The well-known theme tune is a very catchy beat which is associated with the Bill. When the title ends three police officers are shown in a panda car and the radio, uniforms and dialogue shows it is a police drama. The use of words such as sergeant and alpha are examples of codes and dialogue used by the police.

Cagney and Lacey

Cagney and Lacey is an American crime series, which was the first to show two women in the leading roles as police officers. The women aren’t wearing a uniform in the clip and appear at first to be quite feminine dressed in skirts wearing jewellery and looking in shop windows. They are also dressed in fur coats and carrying handbags. Which is ironically contrasted with the male characters that are all talking competitive and carrying a firearm. The iconography for this clip is the use of guns, chases and police badges. Cagney and Lacey have no proof that they are working in the office setting let alone as police officers. Then a woman goes to eat some donuts and she is told that the office and treats are for staff only, this shows that Cagney and Lacey are in some type of superior position to the others. This position of authority is challenged when the male characters enter the room carrying guns and talking about some sporting event. They are very unstereotypical characters for the roles they are playing however when the title begins to role they are shown to be very different to what you may first imagine. It is very action packed and shows them in a chase sequence and exercising vigorously.


Homicide is a very modern socially realistic series, which entwines action with real life and new technologies. The programme shows a corrupt officer, which wouldn’t have been thought of back in the 60’s or 70’s. The camera work is very fast and a lot of fast editing is used. This gives the effect of a high action and fasted paced programme, which will keep the audience interested. It is an American programme and which began broadcasting in the 1990’s. Lots of iconography is used in the title of the program beginning with blue and red flashing lights also words like Exhibit A, Notify C.I.D, Code 3 are flashed on the screen before the title of Homicide rises to the screen. This is done to look good and to identify the genre in an effective way.

In the clip the male characters have the higher status as one male police officer gives a fellow women colleague a speeding fine. When this is happening loud music with a heavy beat is used this automatically makes you imagine an action chase sequence. Things like dead bodies, police officers and police I.D badges are flashed on the screen before the title comes up, there is a lot of reference to the title of the programme, for example 911, autopsy and coroners office.

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