To all of those TV junkies who have recently taken up a nightly routine of watching prime-time crime shows such as Criminal Minds, CSI, and CSI Miami (also known as the better CSI), I come to you with a grave, grave warning: too much exposure to police procedural dramas is dangerous for your psyche.
As gripping and often captivatingly disturbing as these late-night shows are, the cheap thrill of finding out “who dunnit” comes at a momentous price. In my case it has manifested as an incessant paranoia of dark corners. I hear sounds from the deep, dark corners of my room and feel chills as I walk past them in the streets on my way home.
You see, after nightfall everything becomes anything, and as the sun is setting much earlier with the onset of autumn, I constantly find myself seeing questionable figures in the shadows—figures I can only assume to be serial killers. I can no longer go a whole day without seeing at least five criminals worthy of death -row walking down the street. That apparently normal man on the metro looks eerily like that rapist-murderer from CSI who preyed on brown-haired brown-eyed college girls. You know the one. I haven’t seen my neighbour once this semester. She has probably been kidnapped by that Joe-Schmo-stalker who no one suspected on Criminal Minds. Even my handyman is giving me the creeps—he fixes leaky pipes and creaking doors after 9 p.m. (undoubtedly a violation of normal handyman etiquette that you see far too often on CSI Miami). But that’s not all; such shows have also infected my dreams, giving me relentless nightmares, the details of which I shall spare you.
Call it twisted, but wait until it happens to you. I wasn’t always like this. No, I used to embrace the dark and all its fine offerings—restful sleeps, impeccable movie lighting, and of course a comfortable place to sport a bad haircut. Those were the days when I watched crime shows merely for their “story value.” There comes a time, however, when the story instills fear into the depths of your soul.
If you don’t want this to happen to you, stay away from all crime genre shows (unless it’s The Wire, because for some reason drug busts aren’t nearly as psychologically scarring.) For all else—even good ol’ Law and Order—watch at your own risk. If you know when the season finale is, it’s already too late.