The case of the speculative detective: Aesthetic truths and the television ‘crime board’
Author(s): Coley, Rob
In its central concern with questions of epistemology and problems of knowing, detective fiction has always ‘theorised itself’. Over and above any particular crime, the practice of investigation has always supported a broader inquiry into how the world might be interpreted, into how different types of evidence might render the truth of this world knowable, and where the limits of certainty about this knowledge might lie. The current ubiquity of the television ‘crime board’, also known variously as the ‘case board’ or ‘murder board’, offers evidence for a shift in this tendency. Surveying a range of examples from contemporary television drama, this article considers how crime boards both express and perform conditions in which human knowledge of the world is in crisis. Crime boards, and the television shows in which they feature, increasingly problematise rather than uphold the representational authority of ‘truth’ – they serve to investigate phenomena that exceed human powers of detection, but also provoke a more speculative practice, a mode of detection in which the world might still remain aesthetically knowable.
Coley, Rob: The case of the speculative detective: Aesthetic truths and the television ‘crime board’. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 6 (2017), Nr. 1, S. 77–104. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/3379.
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