Media Studies – Comparing Canadian and American Police Dramas

Canadian and American Police Dramas

Question 1

Flashpoint- this show started with a very eventful scene, it was the scene from the end of the show and then it took us back to the beginning and showed us how they got there. This made it very exciting and got us to want to watch the rest. Because there weren’t any commercials when we watched it so I don’t really know where they were but the way the scenes were divided was well done. It stopped in the middle of an important scene so you would stay tuned and watch after the commercial to see what happened. At the end of the episode there was a twist, which made it more interesting because we thought everything was resolved because they saved the hostage. The pacing of this show was appropriate because it was fast at the exciting and dramatic parts and slow at the emotional parts. All these things made the show very interesting.

Chicago Code

-this show started with a few clips of bad things that the police had to do during the hot times of the summer. This gave us a little taste of some of the things we were going to see in the episode and made us want to watch it. Then we see the jobs of a lot of different cops and the crimes they stop. There were lots of different things and different story lines going on at once making it really exciting. Again we didn’t experience the commercials but they seem to break at the important parts again to make the viewer stay tuned for longer. There were a few twists at the end of the episode that were to do with the crimes and the relationships of the cops and this just kept the story lines exciting this TV shows pacing was very good also. Because there was so much more going on in the show, the pacing was a lot faster but if there was a more emotional or tense scene the pacing slowed down therefore we were able to see everything properly and understand it all.

The most obvious difference between the shows was that Chicago Code had a lot more going on in the episode. It was faster paced and there were a lot more different people and different story lines. This didn’t exactly make it more exciting than Flashpoint it just gave us a lot more to see.

I prefered the Chicago Code because there was a lot more character development. I personally don’t love cop shows, so having love and friendships shown more in the episode gave me something else to like.

 Obviously the Chicago Code sounds distinctly American but the characters themselves were not specifically American. Flashpoint was also not distinctly Canadian, other than us Torontonians who recognize the city. The only thing that distinguishes the two cities is the crime rate. In the episode of Chicago Code there were so many crimes in that one day yet in Flashpoint they were only dealing with one. People may think America is a lot more dangerous than Canada and would be able to distinguish the two countries by that.

With that said Canadians and Americans can enjoy both shows depending on what they like to see. If they like to see lots of action in different stories then they would watch the Chicago Code but if they can enjoy one crime in detail then they would enjoy Flashpoint. It shouldn’t matter where the show is from as long as it is a quality program.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ms. Szewchuk
    May 10, 2011 @ 18:03:31

    Great analysis of the similarities and differences in this show. “The Chicago Code” was definitely faster-paced and had more “action” (violence-wise and romance-wise), which certainly allowed it to hold appeal for a wider audience. The cast of “The Chicago Code” was also younger overall, with a greater balance of female to male characters, which may partially account for the romantic tension that was notably absent in “Flashpoint.”
    Both had commercial breaks just as things were getting tense, in an attempt to hold audience attention throughout the commercials. Yet, many viewers today do not experience commercial breaks in the same way that they used to, because they watch online with zero or minimal commercials, or they watch DVDs.
    You’re right that “The Chicago Code” constructs the city as a very dangerous place, unlike “Flashpoint” which did not present the city as inherently frightening. Crime shows in general construct the world as a much more dangerous place than it actually is, in both their content and proliferation on TV, and while they can be entertaining for audiences, it is important to be aware that while a cop may pull out a gun three or four times in one 45 minute episode, most real-life cops pull out a gun three or four times in a career.


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