Saturday, May 7, 2011

Law and order

I watched an episode of Law and Order, UK, this evening.  I'm struck by two huge differences between the popular show over here and the British version.  Of course, they have the same theme tune, and the same dramatic structure, but they illustrate two rather significant differences between the two societies.
The first difference is the societal use of CCTV footage.  It is ubiquitas in British society these days, and people seem to be completely accepting of the fact that everywhere they go, they will be filmed.  I suspect that this makes a lot of detective work a lot easier.  It's a development that I'm uncomfortable with, but I understand the impulses which drive a society to make that choice.
The second obvious difference is the compassion showed by the prosecution towards a minor who changes his plea to guilty: advising him to get psychological counselling so that he is not lost in the prison system: it's not the sort of scene I've often seen in US legal dramas.  But in the UK version it's presented as rather a natural inclination of a prosecutor.  I was rather touched by the inclination to try to change behaviour (and punish) rather than just punish it without the attempt at reforming and rehabilitating the individual.

Yours, enjoying the fact that I can appreciate cultural differences like this,

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