Saturday, December 17, 2011

[December 17th] Miranda Rights in Downton Abbey?

This week proved to be one of the more exhausting variety and I found myself season two of "Downton Abbey", which I find as one of the best period shows I have watched in a long while. The writing is smart, the characters interconnect well enough to keep me watching and there is character growth, which I found overly enjoyable. Edith has become one of my favorite support characters in the series. 

As entertainment, "Downton Abbey" stands on its feet and achieves a lot with the typical British eight-episode season format compared to shows with twice as many episodes per season. However, I can't be entirely sure of whether authenticity is handled in the same way. Now, I don't know about how society operated, how all the different circles in society interacted with each other or how Britain's institutions structured and exerted control over the population during and after World War I.

What I do know is that members of the police force did not use the Miranda Rights during an arrest, which did happen in the season's finale, when two men, who looked like detectives more than officers, arrested Bates for the murder of his wife Vera. The scene itself possesses enough inherent drama to create a strong emotional response without there being any need for the officers to speak, much less use an antiquated version of rights, which were accepted as police procedure during arrests in the late 1960s in the US.  

I try to rationalize as to why they were included. Everyone can relate to the severity of an arrest, so there is no need to evoke sympathy from the viewer by using a popular device for creating tension in modern cinema and TV. I assume that this is an oversight, but one that I find harmful to the suspension of disbelief. I'm only mentioning it because this simple detail derailed the whole experience in that scene.

Have you had similar moments, when watching shows or enjoying movies?