No Cleavage in Broadchurch

Gale Albright focuses on “Broadchurch” to compare characterization of women detectives in British television series with those in crime shows made for American TV. Tight slacks and stilettos, anyone?

Austin Mystery Writers

hutto oct. 1 2014 023 (2)By Gale Albright

In crime fiction, women traditionally have taken on roles of helpmeet/spouse or devil temptress. It’s the old good girl/bad girl, Madonna/whore dichotomy so prevalent in literature, movies, and television. A great example of this dichotomy appears in the classic noir film, The Maltese Falcon.

Mary Astor is the seductive, murdering femme fatale, Bridget O’Shaughnessy. Lee Patrick plays Sam Spade’s girl Friday, Effie Perrine. She is obviously devoted to him, is on call to do his bidding 24/7 and lives with her mother. He never notices her except to say things like “You’re a good man, sister.” He plays around with Iva Archer, his partner’s wife. She is not on screen long, but she makes it count. When Miles is murdered, she forces her way into Sam’s office, draped head to toe in stylish black, somehow looking sexy, and asks Sam if he killed Miles because he…

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3 thoughts on “No Cleavage in Broadchurch

    1. I love Broadchurch, too. Gale, the writer of the post, was comparing the way women detectives are portrayed in American television–wearing low-cut blouses, miniskirts, high heels, perfect hair and makeup–with the way they’re portrayed in British television. We were both impressed with Olivia Colman in Broadchurch. She looks like a real person instead of a sex symbol, and that’s refreshing. I watch only British television now and am waiting impatiently until the second season of Broadchurch is available here. (I should be embarrassed to admit this, but I watched the entire season 1 three times in less than a week.) Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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      1. I think that’s great. Pat and I are watching the third season on tv now and we have the other two seasons on blu-ray which we have watched twice so far… we will watch them all over again when we get the 3rd season… in order. 😀

        Mad isn’t it?


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