The Serial Killer Trend on TV

In real life, the jury reached a verdict in the "Cannibal Cop" case, swayed by the evidence that the officer accessed a police database with the intent of acting upon his dark fetish to kidnap, kill, and eat women (including his estranged wife). On television, such macabre plotlines seem commonplace on many of the fictional procedurals that earn high ratings. What is more interesting (or disturbing?) is that serial killers aren't just a one-episode character to be caught and convicted by the heroes, but a pivotal recurring role in a bunch of shows now, even in some cases, the central protagonist driving the story forward.

The Following starring Kevin Bacon is a hit on FOX and The Cult starring Robert Knepper is doing well on the CW, both with a similar premise of vicious crimes being committed by people inspired by larger-than-life dangerous figures. For years Dexter has been drawing audiences to the saga of a man with serial killer tendencies who tries to channel his sociopathic urges by targeting "bad guys."

Now we have two more shows airing soon that will have familiar murderers as their leads. The A&E network will run The Bates Motel, which is a prequel to the Psycho horror movie franchise. NBC will soon bring us Hannibal, based on the bestselling novels by Thomas Harris that were adapted into the blockbuster films about Dr. Lecter, including my favorite, Silence of the Lambs.

As with the zombie trend, some might argue that these twisted tales are a reflection of the troubled times in which we live, acting as a metaphor to the anxiety that we all face. Whatever the case, it seems we cannot escape the serial killers invading our fiction.