Lesson Plan

Viewing a Crime Drama - Lesson

Lesson Plan

Level(s): grades 9- 11

Author: This material has been adapted, with permission, from a unit developed by Mark Zamparo, an Ottawa-based media educator.


In this lesson students explore how the stereotypes and technical devices used in television crime dramas impact real life attitudes and perceptions about crime. Technical devices explored include elements such as film and shooting techniques, lighting, music, sound effects, recurring visual patterns, plot and characterization. Stereotypes that are discussed include representation of policemen, policewomen, criminals, women, old people, teenagers and minorities. This lesson also provides students with a series of key media concepts that can be applied to this genre.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • understand how crime shows construct reality
  • appreciate the differences between the constructed reality of crime dramas and the handling of crime in real life
  • understand how the technical aspects of the filming of a drama contribute to its overall effect
  • understand the plot formulas that underpin crime drama
  • become aware of the limited representation of criminals, police, women, the young, the elderly and minorities within this genre

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit: