News post #1 question #1

by vcaputo94 on February 17, 2017 - 10:09pm

In popular culture today there are several different types of crime television shows that portray the various types of inhumane criminals that people wish to never encounter.  One of the shows that I have come to be fond of and one that i'm sure many students will talk about in these posts is Criminal Minds.  The reason I am choosing this show in particular is because of its ability to show case a wide variety of different types of criminal behaviour.  The unit itself within the show (Behavioural Analysis Unit) Studies the behaviours of these individuals and treats it as a underlying factor and cause to their criminal activity.  I think that this is a great show for entertainment and one that includes a wide range of criminal topics, but is also one that conditions viewers minds to become gender biased on certain crimes.


In this news post I am going to hone in on one particular episode.  I have found that throughout the series the perpetrators have been predominantly male with a large underrepresentation of female criminals.  The episode is “I Love You Tommy Brown” from season 7 of the series.  In this episode The BAU is called to Seattle, Washington, where two couples have been murdered in their homes. The killings show that there is no sign of forced entry in either case, no sexual assault, and the gunshot wounds were muffled by the use of a pillow. By the time the team reaches Seattle, a third couple has been murdered.  The team learns that a common link between all three is that each belonged to the emergency foster parent list. The team surmises that the female Perpetrator has access to that foster parent list, and has either lost a child herself or is infertile and wants a child. They also surmise that she is killing in lieu of a child not being in the home at the time of entry into the home.


This episode really stands out to me and is one that always comes to mind when talking about gender roles in crime.  This is due in part that the perpetrator is what seems to be the quintessential female offender.  She is committing these crimes in order to get back her child which she had to give up due to her mental unstableness. Her whole end goal is to have her child and the man she loves and live like a family and she is willing to go to extensive lengths in order to do so.  In all other episodes of this show and as well as others, I have never seen a male perpetrator commit crime or serial killings for the love of a child or wanting to have a “family”.  I feel that the shows writers were very biased on the maternal instincts that women have and incorporated that heavily into this character.  There were also a few aspects that I found very interesting about how the BAU profiled this criminal.  Because the killings were not violent (a single gun shot is not considered violent in these types of shows in my opinion) and the fact that there was no forced entry and no signs of physical assault as well as sexual assault, the BAU concluded very quickly that the perpetrator was most likely a women.  Keep in mind this is before they concluded that the perpetrator had access to the adoption database.  My question is why their profile was so quick to point towards a women.  It is essentially stating that women even though capable of crimes involving killing still do so in a less violent way and that if it were a man conducting this particular crime there would be different aspects such as assault either physical or sexual.  


The thing that disappoints me is that it came as no surprise to myself.  I agreed with the profile that the BAU concluded with.  Once realizing this I started to realize that shows like this have aided in the conditioning of my mind to associate certain types of crime to specific genders and I guarantee i'm not alone on this theory.  I would never suspect that a female was behind the criminal activity in this episode had their been signs of sexual assault for example nor do I think the writers would even include that if they are including a female perpetrator.  This episode is a prime example at least to me how crime shows have actually conditioned our minds and ingrained a certain outlook on crimes of both men and women.