Crime series are prime time viewing. They are significant in understanding the rhetoric of crime and law enforcement in our society. Richard Sparks explores the relations between watching cop shows (like Hill St Blues, Miami Vice, Bulman and The Sweeney) and the extent and intensity of public fear and alarm about crime. He examines the arguments about the effects of television violence; analyses the prevalence of certain predominant images and kinds of story, and their appeal to the audience; and relates them to the wider social and political agenda. He draws upon and successfully interweaves social theory, social psychology, cultural and media studies, narrative theory and criminology in providing an important account of the meanings of crime and law enforcement in contemporary culture.