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Portrayals of criminals in the news and in popular culture may influence the way that the public perceives certain types of criminals. The popularity of movies such as The Godfather and Scarface, and television shows such as Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy seems to suggest that viewers identify positively with certain criminal “heroes.”
- The lead characters in Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, and The Sopranos were shown to be brutal killers, yet the stories were constructed around those characters. Why does this seem to be the case? What is the appeal of a criminal as a hero?
- Do movies and television shows such as these glamorize crime? If so, are there specific crimes or behaviors that are more likely to be glamorized and some more likely to be demonized?
- How can the predominant theories of criminology relate to this phenomenon?
- If it can be established that these portrayals influence real-world criminal behavior, should there be legal restrictions on how criminals are portrayed in popular culture? Explain your reasoning.