'The Second What': Science, Tragedy and the Mental Abyss in Forensic Files
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionRidderstrøm H. 'The Second What': Science, Tragedy and the Mental Abyss in Forensic Files. Series. International Journal of TV Serial Narratives. 2020:17-27 https://dx.doi.org/10.6092/issn.2421-454X/10583
This article explores a few episodes of the television series Forensic Files (1996-) as a means of explaining connections between mind reading, the tragic and true crime. The tragic as a concept and the challenges of mind reading are described in order to explain the role assigned to science in the series. Forensic Files is a homage to science and forensics, but some important aspects of the retold crimes are often disregarded. This article problematizes the role of thoughts, feelings and intentions in Forensic Files. The aim is to underline the significance of the lack of attention paid to the psychological dimension of true crimes in the series, as well as to expose the tragic range of these retold fatal crime stories. A crucial gap in the process of understanding and judging a perpetrator is named ‘the second what’, a factor that demonstrates an essential connection between true crime cases and our ability to read minds.