Seeing is believing: CSI, serial mortality, and the discourse of true vision

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This essay considers the fascination and seduction of death as it is portrayed in the long-running American crime show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS. 2000-present), exploring the relatively recent trend in and popularity of crime procedural in which death, dying, and violence are repetitively enacted. CSI's narrative and visual form both suggest that the more investigators repeat, the closer they arrive to truth and justice. As with the episodic imperative of narrative television more generally, CSI's repetitive drive offers eventual visual gratification for its viewers while situating them in a discourse of tine vision-or, vision as truth-in which the show's investigators also circulate. This essay ties these specific interrogations of CSI to an articulation of the concept of the televisual gaze, a scopic function that derives its meaning from the subject imagining herself as part of a field of other gazers and gazes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-144
Number of pages20
JournalConcentric: Literary and Cultural Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Crime
  • Repetition
  • Spectatorship
  • Television
  • The gaze
  • Truth
  • Visual pleasure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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