File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Influence Of Crime Dramas On Perception Of Criminality: A Comprehensive Analysis

This research explores the complex relationship that exists between crime dramas and the public's understanding of criminality. Popular culture is dominated by crime dramas, which help to shape public opinions about crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system. This study aims to examine the various effects of crime dramas with an emphasis on media representation, stereotypes, fear of crime, legal ramifications, and psychological impacts.

The study examines how stereotypes and biases may be reinforced in crime dramas and how this might affect viewers' perceptions in the real world, all while addressing the ethical issues surrounding media portrayal. The study also looks at the psychological effects of audience participation, such as character identification and how it affects perceptions of one's safety.

The outcomes of the study should clarify the complex ways in which crime plays influences our sense of criminality as a society and provide substantial fresh insight into media studies, criminology, and psychology. Media creators, legislators, and the general public must comprehend the impact of crime dramas as media consumption trends continue.

The compelling stories of criminal masterminds, committed law enforcement, and the pursuit of justice found in crime dramas have unquestionably impacted the landscape of popular culture. These stories have a significant impact on how we view crime and criminality in the actual world in addition to being highly entertaining.

Knowing how crime Dramas affect our collective psyche is more important than ever in this age of ubiquitous digital connectedness, as cable networks and streaming services bring these stories into our homes. This thorough analysis aims to clarify the complex relationships between crime dramas and the way society views criminal activity. "Crime dramas are a popular entertainment genre that has a special ability to shape public perceptions of crime, justice, and the people who are involved in the criminal justice system".

These stories have the power to influence ideas and promote prejudices. There are many different perceptions, feelings, and emotions that can come from watching crime shows, whether they are fictional or not. Many people tune into media to find out how systems in our society are functioning, and one of the ones that they look at is the criminal justice system.

Everyone wants to feel safe, but how the media presents explanations of that system can bring about new perceptions of crime and criminals. Some of these perceptions could be fear, confusion, anger, or even comfort if a certain program always shows cases being solved and the "bad guy" getting caught.[1]

This research raises several ethical questions, including the possibility that crime dramas reinforce prejudices and stereotypes. We face the wider ramifications of cultural attitudes towards race, gender, and socioeconomic status as we untangle the web of media representation. Against the backdrop of dynamic, interactive, and increasingly powerful media consumption, this thorough investigation aims to further the conversation in media studies, criminology, and psychology.

We aim to start meaningful discussions about the moral obligations of content creators, the possible effects on public opinion, and the necessity of a nuanced, informed approach to media consumption in the modern world by gaining an understanding of the complex influence of crime dramas on our view of criminality.

Drama Representation of Crime:

The term "Drama representation of crime" describes how criminal activity, court cases, and the people involved in them are portrayed in the framework of dramatic narrative. This is especially relevant to made-up stories that are portrayed in movies, television dramas, or other scripted products. In this setting, the storyline frequently revolves around the portrayal of crime, and a variety of theatrical devices are used to catch the audience's interest.

The portrayal of crime, deviance, and disorder in the media has long been a source of concern. The public's views and comprehension of crime are heavily influenced by television, the internet, and print media, which can spread the message about the exaggerated danger to society. Such sensationalist media coverage leads to moral hysteria or indignation aimed at specific groups, such as young people or ethnic minorities (Hollis et al., 2017).

As a result, people can picture themselves as potential victims in such situations. Media outlets rarely examine the root causes of crime, such as socioeconomic factors, and often use the information to instill fear in the public.[2] The portrayal of criminal activity in news media is frequently linked to a manipulative technique that creates a perception of threat inside society.

Key Aspects of Drama Representation can be:

  • Narrative Structure - Crime dramas frequently have a predetermined plot that starts with the occurrence of a crime, progresses through an investigation or court case, and ends with the matter being resolved. To keep the audience interested, the story may have subplots, red herrings, and unexpected twists.
  • Characterization - In criminal plays, the main characters are vital. Detectives, law enforcement officials, and even criminals can be protagonists. Those who obstruct the investigation or those who commit the crime are examples of antagonists.
  • Moral Ambiguity and Ethical Dilemmas - Crime drama characters sometimes struggle with moral ambiguity, moral quandaries, or internal problems. This blurs the lines between good and wrong and gives their personalities more complexity.
  • Visual And Cinematic Elements - In criminal plays, the visual display is expertly designed. The mood is enhanced by the use of cinematography, camera angles, lighting, and visual effects, which highlight the drama and intensity of crime scenes, investigations, and courtroom processes.
  • Psychological Exploration - Crime dramas frequently dive deeply into the psychological conditions of their characters. This involves studying their phobias, motives, and how their behavior affects their mental health.
  • Realism Vs Fiction - Some plays aim for reality, while many dramas employ artistic license in the name of storytelling. The credibility of a narrative can be improved by providing realistic portrayals of crime scenes, investigative techniques, and legal proceedings.
  • Impact Of Audience Perception - The way that crime is portrayed in plays has a direct impact on how viewers view crime, justice, and social issues. Crime plays depend on their audience's engagement, and this emotional connection can spark debates and introspection about contemporary concerns.

Dramatic portrayals of crime are imaginative and artistic interpretations of criminal components that serve as a source of entertainment. Examining how crime is portrayed in dramas advances our knowledge of how fictional stories influence public opinions, morals, and conversations about crime and justice.

Theoretical perspective:

To understand how crime dramas affect people's perceptions of crime, several theoretical vantage points might be used. Every viewpoint offers a different framework for analysing how media use and personal or societal attitudes relate to one another. The following are a few well-known theoretical viewpoints:
  • Cultivation Theory:
    Cultivation theory was given by George Gerbner. Television offers a plethora of ideas and conceptions on a variety of social and cultural dynamics like race, gender, sexuality, etc. Over a period of time, a fixed image of various groups of people is formed and viewers start to absorb these ideas which they then use as a map to navigate through life.

    This constant exposure to the media content cultivates specific values, beliefs, attitudes and desires in people. These newly preconceived notions shape their perception of the world and they ultimately influence how others perceive them. People, therefore, end up unconsciously shaping their thought processes and behaviour based on what they consume. In today's world, people are increasingly starting to depend on television more than any other medium to understand the intricate web of the norms, values and mindset of the society in which they live.[3]

    The cultivation theory holds that people's views of reality are shaped by prolonged exposure to media content. When it comes to crime dramas, a person's regular exposure to stories about crime may help shape certain attitudes and ideas about crime and the criminal justice system.
  • Agenda Setting Theory:
    According to the agenda-setting idea, the media can influence public opinion by emphasising certain issues while downplaying others. Levels of agenda-setting theory,

    There are two levels of agenda-setting theory:
    • First Level: This includes picking up a particular new item over others, also known as object salience. It deals with the object or news and the importance given to it. The first-level agenda setting focuses on what to think by influencing people's mindsets and getting their attention through excessive reporting of particular news.
    • Second Level: The second level consists of influencing the public's opinion by articulating their thoughts. This primarily includes telling them how to think about a particular news story decided at the first level. This level aims to set the agenda or narrative about certain news events and developments by repeating the same perspective or highlighting the same information. [4] Crime dramas have the power to influence the public's view of which crimes are more common or worrisome by emphasising specific sorts of crimes or criminal activity.
  • Social Learning Theory:
    Albert Bandura, a psychologist, proposed the Social Learning Theory, a thorough framework that describes how people acquire new values, behaviours, and attitudes by seeing and copying others in their social surroundings. This theory's key idea is observational learning, which emphasises that people pick up lessons from the actions and outcomes of peers, role models, and even media personalities. Perceived competence, beauty, and status of the model all affect how likely someone is to imitate. Vicarious reinforcement is a theory put forth by Bandura that holds that people can learn from the rewards or punishments that others receive.

    Paying attention to the observed behaviour, remembering it, being able to replicate it, and being motivated by things like reinforcement are all parts of learning. Importantly, Social Learning Theory emphasises how people actively analyse information, make decisions, and consider the possible consequences of their actions. This emphasises the active role of cognitive processes.

    The notion of self-efficacy is also introduced by the theory, which highlights the significance of a person's confidence in their capacity to carry out particular actions. Sociological Learning Theory is a fundamental paradigm in criminology, psychology, and education since it has been widely used to explain behaviours like violence, prosocial behaviour, and the impact of media on personal behaviour. Crime dramas can be a form of observational learning, shaping viewers' attitudes and views of crime through their depiction of criminal behaviour and the repercussions that follow.
  • Cognitive Neoassociation model:
    The psychologist Leonard Berkowitz's Cognitive Neoassociation Model explains the psychological processes that underlie the association between violent media exposure and aggressive conduct. According to the paradigm, people may have hostile thoughts and sentiments after watching violent or aggressive media content.
This hypothesis holds that the activation of negative emotions, including fear or anger, can lead to a condition known as cognitive neoassociation, in which a person's thoughts start to associate aggression with aggression. It is hypothesised that this greater availability of aggressive ideas will make aggressive behaviour more likely. The concept is significant because it emphasises how negative affect mediates the influence of violent media on aggressive inclinations.

Although the Cognitive Neoassociation Model admits that not everyone who is exposed to violent media will act aggressively, it does imply that in some situations, having more aggressive thoughts can increase the likelihood of acting aggressively. Our comprehension of the intricate connection between media exposure and subsequent behaviour-particularly when it comes to aggression and violence-has been greatly influenced by this notion. When it comes to crime dramas, witnessing violent or criminal activities repeatedly can activate aggressive ideas or beliefs about crime.

By using these theoretical frameworks to examine how crime dramas affect public perception of crime, researchers may explore the complex ways that media consumption influences public and individual attitudes towards criminal activity, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system.

Stereotypes And Biases
Stereotypes are a common occurrence in crime dramas and have the power to greatly influence and slant viewers' opinions about criminals. Stereotypes are generalised oversimplified opinions about a certain group of individuals that are frequently derived from cultural presumptions and prepared notions. Several prevalent assumptions about criminals can surface in the setting of crime dramas.

Racial and Ethnic Stereotypes:

Crime plays frequently reinforce prejudices that associate particular racial or ethnic groups with particular forms of criminal activity. This may help the audience's negative preconceptions and biased views to be reinforced. Socioeconomic Stereotypes: Stereotypes are reinforced by depictions of criminals from lower socioeconomic origins as more likely to commit crimes.

Such depictions may give rise to prejudiced ideas on the connection between criminal activity and poverty. Gender Stereotypes: Crime dramas have the potential to perpetuate gender norms and stereotypes by portraying men as more likely to commit violent crimes and women as more likely to commit crimes like deception or fraud.

These portrayals may encourage prejudiced ideas about the innate criminal propensities of various genders. Often, terms such as gendered media, media bias, and the under representation of women as the "problem of media" are used instead of the concept of media sexism in literature, making it difficult to find a commonly used definition.

We define media sexism as the (re) production of societal sexism through under- and misrepresentation of women in media, leading to a false portrayal of society through a gendered lens. Media sexism both reflects sexism in society (media reproducing sexism) and portrays a more gender-segregated picture than reality (media producing sexism), such that media is a good measure of societal sexism but also makes society more sexist than it would be otherwise.[5]

Profession-Based Stereotypes:
Crime dramas frequently depict particular professions or jobs as being more likely to engage in criminal activity. Biassed impressions about those who work in certain fields may result from this.

Mental Health Stereotypes:
In crime dramas, characters who struggle with mental health disorders are occasionally portrayed as dangerous or unpredictable by nature. This may contribute to the prejudice of and misguided views about those who struggle with mental health issues.

Now we will look at one example of how crime dramas make stereotypes and biases:
Recently, a Movie Named "Animal" was released in Indian Cinema by Bollywood in 2023 Directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga. Hero is portrayed in this film as an Alpha Male who engages in a lot of illegal activities. Now we will look at the outcomes that I have made by seeing this movie what stereotypes does this movie give to society:

  • Normalising misogyny and violence: Films such as "Animal" normalise these topics by showing them as respectable, even desired, conduct. Watchers may suffer as a result, especially younger and more impressionable audiences who may be more likely to take up unhealthy habits.
  • Promoting criminal activity: "Animal" romanticised depiction of gangsters and other criminals may cause some viewers to think that these pursuits are glamorous and thrilling, which could increase crime or gang violence.
  • Encouraging unhealthy relationships: The violent and poisonous relationships that "Animal" portrays have the potential to incite viewers to have irrational expectations, which could result in domestic violence or other types of abuse.
  • No Role of Police: There was a lot of criminal conduct in the movie Animal, but the police never intervened during all of its making.
These were some of the Stereotypes in the movie which affected the society.

These stereotypes have a significant effect on viewers because they can strengthen preconceived notions already held, encourage the development of new ones, and alter how the general public views crime and criminals. According to a hypothesis known as "mean world syndrome," which is connected to cultivation theory, people who are repeatedly exposed to these media stereotypes may come to believe that the world is more hazardous than it is, which can breed mistrust and anxiety.

Psychological Impact
Crime dramas can have a significant psychological effect on viewers, basing their ideas about offenders and forming prejudicial opinions. The way that people perceive and internalise the representations of crime and offenders in these narratives is influenced by several psychological factors: Primacy and Regency Effects Perceptions can be influenced by the sequence in which information is presented.

Because of the primacy effect (the propensity to recall the first information encountered) and recency effect (the tendency to remember the most recent information), viewers of crime dramas may acquire biased perceptions if particular groups are regularly portrayed as criminals. Cognitive Dissonance- People may suffer from cognitive dissonance when they are exposed to representations that contradict their preexisting ideas. Viewers may internalise biased beliefs to fit the narrative they consume if crime dramas promote prejudices, which helps to keep stereotypes alive.

Fear and Anxiety: Crime dramas can cause stress and fear because of their dramatic and frequently sensationalised style. Viewers may grow more fearful or suspicious of particular groups in real life if they are frequently linked to criminal activity. Implicit Bias: Implicit biases are associations that are made subconsciously and have an impact on attitudes and behaviours. They can arise as a result of continuously being exposed to biassed portrayals in crime dramas.

These prejudices may influence perceptions of members of particular groups in the actual world and interactions with them. Childhood Exposure to Media Violence Predicts Young Adult Aggressive Behavior, According to a New 15-Year Study, Children's viewing of violent TV shows, their identification with aggressive same-sex TV characters, and their perceptions that TV violence is realistic are all linked to later aggression as young adults, for both males and females. That is the conclusion of a 15-year longitudinal study of 329 youth published in the March issue of Developmental Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).

These findings hold true for any child from any family, regardless of the child's initial aggression levels, their intellectual capabilities, their social status as measured by their parents' education or occupation, their parents' aggressiveness, or the mother's and father's parenting style.[6]

Legal implications in India
Like any other type of media, crime dramas in India are governed by laws and moral principles. Even if crime dramas are a well-liked and acceptable kind of entertainment, they must abide by the law to prevent any possible harm or detrimental effects on society. The Indian government approved the Cinematograph Act in 1952, which allowed for the certification and regulation of motion pictures. The statute established the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to certify films for general distribution and ensure that no offensive or hazardous material is included.

At present, there are 4 categories, initially, there were only two categories:
  • U (Universal exhibition): Films with U certifications are universal, which means they can be seen by the whole public. A film with U certification contains some universal content like education, family, action, etc. These films may contain some vulgar scenes (without any nudity and sex scenes).
  • U/A (requires parents' advice below the age of 12): Films with U/A certification may contain some adult scenes that are not too strong and can be watched by children but under the guidelines of parents. These types of films may contain ordinary content of violence, many scenes with vulgarity (little scene of nudity & sexual details), and muted abusive language.
  • A (Restricted to the adult exhibition): Film with "A" certification is available only for those who have attained the age of majority. These films contain violence, sex acts, abusive languages (words that insult the women are not allowed). Such type of movies is usually re-certified for TV and video.
  • S (Restricted specialized class): Films with "S" Certifications are not for the normal public. Only professional people have permission to watch.

The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was just passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The bill adds strong anti-piracy measures and broadens the law's application beyond censorship to include copyright.

Regarding Ott platforms, they have a self-regulatory body instead of a censorship board. As of now, the Centre has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 to regulate OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix India and others. This means that currently, OTT platforms have a self-regulatory mechanism.

Unlike movies released in theatres, OTT platforms have no involvement of the Central Board of Film Certification and give their content a self-evaluated certification. OTTs are also required to display age-based content ratings for their shows and movies. As per the Centre, OTT shows and movies should now show any content which is prohibited under Indian law and threaten the sovereignty of the nation.

Netflix, Prime, Sony Liv and other platforms are mandated to have a Grievance Officer based in India, for receiving and addressing all complaints regarding their content. Due to the sudden increase in complaints, the Indian government has issued a stern warning to OTT platforms, saying that they might soon take matters into their own hands when it comes to censoring offensive content.[8]

While creative freedom is important, telling stories responsibly is also important to prevent skewed impressions, societal unrest, or even legal issues. material providers should be updated about any modifications to the laws and regulations about media material in India, as the regulatory landscape is subject to constant change.

In conclusion, there is a complex interaction between legal, cultural, and psychological elements. Even though they are a common kind of entertainment, crime dramas have a big impact on how the public views and feels about criminal behaviour. The investigation of this influence emphasises how critical it is to acknowledge the possible effects these narratives may have on people and society as a whole.

To counteract stereotypes in crime dramas, media content needs to be critically analysed, content creators need to be made more conscious, and varied and complex representations of criminal characters need to be encouraged. Crime dramas can support a more truthful and impartial portrayal of crime and criminality by questioning and debunking these clich�s, so promoting an informed and impartial public viewpoint.

When we talk about Ott Platforms, looking at the present scenario, the need for an unbiased regulatory body is a must. The Internet Content Streaming cannot be controlled by a self-regulatory body. The body shall distinguish responsible content for regulation. The OTT platforms and the Government shall work together on this and end this issue once and for all. At this point of time OTT platform is at a nascent stage across the globe. India needs to make sure that they cope up with the needs of the people while making a legislation.[9]

Recently a heated statement was given by a Congress MP (Rajya Sabha), Ranjeet Ranjan in Parliament related to crime movies - She said according to AajTak, "Cinema is a mirror of society. We have grown up watching cinema, and it can influence the youth. First, there were films like Kabir Singh and Pushpa, and now there is Animal. My daughter went to watch the film with her college friends, and walked out midway through because she couldn't stop crying."[10]

She questioned why the Censon Board approves these kinds of films even if they are aware of the potential effects on society. As media continues to change, both producers and viewers must participate in critical analysis, promote media literacy, and push for more inclusive and ethical narrative. Ultimately, promoting a complex, educated, and fair society knowledge of crime and justice requires an awareness of the multiple effects that crime dramas have on the perception of criminality.

  1. Abby Hogan, How crime dramas influence perception of crime, 459," Undergraduate honours thesis collection", 2019,
  2. IvyPanda Crime TV: How Is Criminality Represented on Television?, 2022,
  3. Communication theory, (Last Visited Jan. 12, 2024).
  4. Indeed, (Last Visited Jan. 12, 2024).
  5. Amanda Haraldsson & Lena W�ngnerud, The effect of media sexism on women's political ambition: evidence from a worldwide study, Taylor & Francis Online (May. 10, 2018),
  6. American Psychological Association, (Last Visited Jan. 18, 2024).
  7. Nancy Goyal, An overview of censorship in Indian cinema within scope of CBFC, ipleaders (May. 22, 2021),
  8. DNA, (Last visited Jan. 22, 2024).
  9. Nagoriastha, Censorship Of OTT Platforms: A Boon Or Bane, Legal Service India E-Journal (Jan. 28, 2024, 8:30 PM),
  10. Entertainment Desk, 'Animal made my daughter cry, is disrespectful to Sikh sentiments': Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan in Rajya Sabha, The Indian Express (Dec. 8, 2023, 11:09 AM),

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly