Murder! Now with commentary for your viewing pleasure: Why true crime should be ignored


Eunice Oh

Many producers of true crime shows are only in it for the profit.

Murder may be absolutely unforgivable to many, but present it in the right light, and it becomes a fun experience for some. It’s also a great way for the film industry to make money.

True crime is a genre that discusses real crimes that people find interesting. While many true crime shows are made to shine light upon a decision of the court system that seems legally dubious (such as “Making of a Murderer” by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos), some exist only for the self-interests of the producers and viewers. These productions should be left unviewed and forgotten.

By making shows that feature real stories about people’s misfortune, producers are simply taking advantage of the victim’s misery for profit. Producers need to stop making true crime unless they are creating their show for a purpose beyond generating money, which clearly comes across in the tone and content.

Producers making shows based on crime for profit is also legally dubious. The “Son of Sam” law is designed to prevent criminals from profiting off of publicity they receive from crimes they have committed. A criminal can’t profit from their crimes, so a person who’s completely uninvolved with the incident, such as the creator of a true crime film, shouldn’t be able to get money from it either because it is just as immoral.

Viewers of true crime are also morally questionable. Those who watch true crime media are essentially using the misfortune of others to keep themselves entertained, which is completely unethical. If viewers watch it because they are entertained by aspects other than the crime itself, such as following proceedings or investigation, it is fine, but deriving pleasure from the crime itself is unforgivable.

Many defend their enjoyment of true crime by saying that their interest in the story does not equate to an interest in the murder itself. This argument relies on reducing the reality of the event that created the story in the first place, essentially reducing the people involved into simple characters in a story. Watching true crime for interest in the story may not be the same as a fascination with murder, but it’s completely dehumanizing for the victims who are being reduced to parts of a story.

By creating content that uses real accounts of people’s hardships, producers and viewers must ensure that content doesn’t solely take advantage of crime for its own purposes, whether that be profit or entertainment. If the show seems to be focused singularly on one of gaining profit or entertaining, then it should be ignored.