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Felix: serial offenders

5 January 2007

Perhaps it is the fault of the television. Perhaps we now know that we are indeed thoroughly corrupted by the television screen and the cinema. Perhaps we need to get a grip in these first days of the New Year, for there is nothing like a ‘serial killer’ on the loose, it would seem, to send the media into overdrive.

Our assessment of real life is now so unrealistic that we seem to expect the crime to be solved within an hour, or, if it is really complicated, over two two-hour screenings one week apart; and we all appear to get involved to a degree that there may be a risk that we are in fact, without meaning to, beginning to try the suspect and deciding he is guilty without the inconvenience of the trial process. Just like on television, where everyone does the decent thing and ‘fesses up to Miss Marple.

Watching and reading the media coverage of the murders in Ipswich at the end of last year was a surreal, rather than serial, experience. Surely anyone who is invol...

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