Policing the Monstrous

Essays on the Supernatural Crime Procedural


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About the Book

This collection of new essays examines how the injection of supernatural creatures and mythologies transformed the hugely popular crime procedural television genre. These shows complicate the predictable and comforting patterns of the procedural with the inherently unknowable nature of the supernatural. From Sherlock to Supernatural, essays cover a range of topics including the gothic, the post-structural nature of The X-Files, the uncanny lure of Twin Peaks, trickster detectives, forensic fairy tales, the allure of the vampire detective, and even the devil himself.

About the Author(s)

Ashley Szanter is an adjunct instructor of English at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Her research focuses on monsters, monstrosity, popular culture, and media studies.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ashley Szanter

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 202
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7053-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4130-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Following the Eerie, Formulaic Steps of the Supernatural Crime Procedural
Ashley Szanter 1
Deceive, Inveigle, Obfuscate: ­Post-Structuralism and the Staggered Retirement of Fox Mulder
Adam James Smith 9
The Owls Are Not What They Seem: Uncanny Doubles in Twin Peaks
Mark Yates 29
Sherlock Holmes: The Intersection of Magic and Science in Crime Detection
Michelle D. Miranda 46
Playing Detective: Gothic Perspectives and Police Procedurals in the CW’s Supernatural
Mary Going 66
Evil Is a Metaphysical Condition: Undead Melodrama, AIDS and the Crime Procedural
Teresa ­Cutler-Broyles 80
The ­Hard-Boiled Detective Gone Soft: Moonlight, Vampire Noir and the Detective in Search of Himself
Simon Bacon 101
True Resonance: The Intersection of the Noosphere, Spirituality and the Supernatural in True Detective—Season One
Phil Fitzsimmons 112
Pushing Daisies, Forensic Fairy Tales and Supernatural Crime Procedurals
Scott Rogers 134
“Magic’s a nasty game”: John Constantine as the Trickster Detective
Shawn Edrei 147
Runnin’ with the Devil: The Procedurals from Hell
Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper 158
Amateur Hour: Professional Competency in Supernatural Crime Procedurals
Lynn Kozak 172
About the Contributors 189
Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “This pioneering collection sheds new light on what happens when television’s familiar crime procedural lures us down a dark alley resistant to ordered understanding. Wielding an impressive array of critical approaches, Policing the Monstrous traces the shifting paradox of logical crime solving and elements of myth, magic, and the supernatural often embedded in the crime. As screens continue to showcase the “Stranger Things” happening across “Lovecraft Country,” this useful volume investigates a hybrid television genre that subverts convention to pose profound questions of moral ballast and human failing.”—Christine A. Jackson, professor emeritus, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, author of The Tell-Tale Art: Poe in Modern Popular Culture