Only the Dead

Posted in Dead VCR, TV, Workbook

It’s been some time since my last video. Three months ago, around the time of the mass shooting in Orlando, I began working (You can see a rainbow flag version of the A&E “bug” the network inappropriately ran the days following the Orlando shootings in a few of the clips). Somewhere in the middle of the project the Republican National Convention happened and the video became a direct reflection of Donald Trump’s view of America in his acceptance speech. And that’s one of the main issues people have with the show. It prays on the fears of white America of black crime by misrepresenting homicide crime statistics in America by featuring predominantly black suspects on the show.

The First 48’s formula goes something like this. The close-mic’d narrator:

  • states the time and city
  • narrows down location (side of town, neighborhood)
  • introduces 911 call (911 call plays)
  • “when police and paramedics respond they find” a victim, location, …. “dead”;
    • if the victim(s) are still alive: paramedics rush the victim to the hospital… variations on dying, usually “but he dies” or “where he dies.”

Almost all of the material in the final video come from season 4 and onward when this formula is put into place. There’s always an extremely long pause for the eerie strings build in the background before the narrator really punches “dead.” I originally left in these pauses, but the video ended up around 8 minutes by including them. While the narrator has been with the show since the first season, he doesn’t become a “character” until this fourth season. The voiceover recording quality also has a much deeper and sinister tone. Several episodes are no longer aired after the suspects who were convicted of murder on the show in Miami, Houston, and Minneapolis were exonerated. Cities have ended contracts with show as a result of the interfering with/influencing investigations (New Orleans) or obstructing justice (Detroit).

Hannah Harris Green Reality TV show The First 48 thrives off America’s racist justice system
Luther Campbell The First 48 Keeps Miami’s Inner City Neighborhoods in the Dumps