The Corner

Re: in Justice

I’ve got a piece in the forthcoming NRODT on In Justice, the “innocence” movement, and the death penalty (subscribe!). So I’ve now watched a couple of the episodes. As pieces of drama, they were better than expected. Kyle MacLachlan is a good actor. But I must say I had very low expectations–I’m certainly not giving In Justice a thumbs up. I found show to be emotionally manipulative (especially the pilot) and I don’t care for the premise, which is that a bunch of do-gooder lawyers must right the wrongs of a criminal justice system which is condemning innocent people to prison with abandon. Although no human institution is perfect, I don’t think this premise is true–and basing a whole TV show on it is to promote an unhealthy cynicism about law enforcement.

When it comes to “innocence,” the show tries to have it every which way. On the program, whenever an innocent person is sprung loose from jail a guilty person goes in–there’s always a bad guy who gets his comeuppance. In other words, to borrow a phrase given to us by OJ Simpson, the lawyers find the real killers. In reality, of course, these “innocence projects” do no such thing. They tend to get people out of prison because of legal technicalities rather than investigative revelations. So there’s plenty of deception involved as well.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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