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The Challenges Facing Homicide Detectives as Depicted in Homicide: Life on the Street Open Access

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Since Dragnet first aired in 1950, the police series have been a staple on prime time television in the United States. The police drama offers viewers a wide variety of depictions of police work, most of which have been well researched. However, prior research has largely overlooked the portrayals of homicide detectives on police television shows, a gap which this study aims to fill. Using a content analysis of the 1995 season of Homicide: Life on the Street, this study examines the challenges that homicide detectives are faced with on a daily basis. The author found that homicide detectives faced general challenges including: work schedule, department politics, dealing with family members, locating witnesses, gathering information from witnesses, locating evidence, locating suspects, interrogating suspects, and handling the media. The author found that homicide detectives faced personal challenges including: sexism, racism, coping with death, and danger as well. The author found that over a third of the challenges found were supported by prior research that focused on real life homicide detectives. Therefore, I argue that Homicide: Life on the Street delivers an accurate representation of the challenges homicide detectives are faced with on a daily basis, while suggesting additional challenges that future research in the field should examine.Keywords: homicide detectives, police drama, and challenges

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