Joe Rogan and Malcom Gladwell Posed a Mind-Blowing Theory About Crime Shows

Certain types of TV shows seem to be popular throughout the decades, defying logic and expectation. It is a foregone conclusion that audiences will love medical dramas, romantic comedies, and Westerns. However, top on the list are crime dramas.

Ever since the dawn of television, shows about hardened cops pursuing justice have resonated with viewers, and that remains no less true these days. Recently, famed interviewer Joe Rogan sat down with journalist Malcolm Gladwell to talk about crime shows and why they remain so popular with people.

Joe Rogan speaks onstage
Joe Rogan | Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

What are some popular crime TV shows?

Even before every home in America had a television, people were following along with police procedural dramas on the radio. Shows like Dragnet popularized the idea of a jaded cop or detective chasing down leads and bringing about justice. Eventually, many of these dramas transitioned to television and an even bigger audience followed along each week.

These days, TV shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, and Law & Order continue to rule the airwaves and have maintained their popularity for decades. It seems as though people can’t get enough of the nail-biting cases or the cops who have become such staple figures on television.

Many people have theorized that the reason these types of shows remain at the top of the ratings chart every year is that most people are deeply fascinated with crime and criminal behavior and that watching TV shows about it is an acceptable way to gain insight into the psyche of disturbed people.

Experts claim that the shows also allow viewers to imagine what they would do if they were in the position of the cops and detectives. 

Malcolm Gladwell’s theory about crime shows

Joe Rogan hosts a podcast where he routinely welcomes some of the most interesting minds in pop culture. Together, Rogan and his guests discuss hot topics as well as more obscure subjects like sensory deprivation and “dark web” topics. Recently, Rogan welcomed Malcolm Gladwell to the show for a lengthy discussion that turned into a deep debate regarding the nature of crime shows and entertainment in general.

Gladwell stated that he finds crime shows boring but he acknowledges that they are intensely popular with a large audience base. He believes that mainly women are drawn to crime shows because they find them comforting in the sense that justice prevails and that the bad guy always gets caught.

Gladwell discussed how there are essentially four different genres of entertainment, the Western, which portrays a world without law and order and a man ultimately shows up to impose that law and order, the Eastern, which is where there is a world where law and order does exist but that it has been “subverted” by people working within the system (Gladwell mentioned Hollywood films like Serpico that fit this outline).

The other two genres are the Northern, where law and order exists and is morally righteous — Gladwell pointed to the show Law & Order as an example of a popular show in this category — and the Southern, where the entire “apparatus” of law is corrupt and where someone comes in from the outside to reform the system. Gladwell concluded his theory by stating that all different crime shows can fit into one of those four categories. 

Will crime shows continue to be popular forever?

Based on Gladwell’s explanation, crime shows will likely continue to be popular for as long as new entertainment is created. The genres that he discussed are basic outlines wherein many different types of shows and narratives can be created.

Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for all the latest Joe Rogan news!