Political & crime dramas: Does it really matter if our TV version is realistic?

By Kayla Johnston
From Scandal to Law and Order: SVU, political and crime dramas are on nearly every channel I flip through. Personally, I am hooked immediately by the suspense of these shows, but I often wonder how accurate the portrayal of law enforcement and government is in these television versions.
As a journalist and someone consistently engaged in current events, these shows often provide a negative view of those in the journalism and reporting field (Olivia Pope as a former White House Press Secretary sleeping with the president — not our best representation). But what about for those watching who aren’t journalists or engaged at all in news or politics? For many, these shows provide valuable insight – however limited it may be – into the world of politics and law to those who may not be heavily educated on the subjects otherwise.
I can’t ignore the fact that Monk, Shawn Spencer, and the rest of the stars of hour long crime dramas/comedies always seem to perfectly solve their cases by the time the episode wraps up. Or that somehow Olivia Pope is always dressed perfectly and Annalise Keating’s court cases only span a couple of days rather than the months high-profile cases should be taking. However, aside from several obvious misrepresentations, these shows give insight into the world of the White House, the court room and the local police station that many of us would not otherwise see.
To that I say: Olivia Pope for president.