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Women in the spanish policiac television genre

The role played by women in TV police fictions constructs the mental frameworks of a real image. The resulting perception confirms the conservatism of, especially, the private channels (1990-2010) and can be analysed in terms of gender, together with other layers acting in a transversal way, putting it into relation to the political colour of the several governments when these TV series were broadcasted.
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The article published in the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, shows that the introduction of private broadcasts and the disappearance of RTVE's television monopoly in Spain (1989) was accompanied by significant changes related to the representation of woman, homosexuality and migration, in Spanish Crime TV series (1990-2010).

One of the most important is that the representation of women in police genre television productions of Spanish private chains in the analyzed period was worse than the representation of migrants and homosexuality, which improved gradually, thanks to the social concern about these issues.

The qualitative and quantitative research, undertaken by Anna Tous-Rovirosa (Dept. of Journalism and Communication Studies, Faculty of Communication Sciences, Ofent, UAB) it has been found that during this period there has been an underrepresentation of both female police officers and protagonists of the plots, and especially that female representation is usually associated with stereotypes and they usually play the victim’s role or characters like lab forensics professionals, and rarely action police officers or leaders. In addition, gender stereotypes are more present in highly successful police series that last over the period analyzed (El comisario, Tele5, 1999-2009; Los Hombres de Paco, Antena 3, 2005- 2010), with a far greater presence than in previous series such as Petra Delicado (Tele5, 1999) and Pepe Carvalho (Tele5, 1999-2000). This stereotypical representation of women is higher in the aforementioned series than in their contemporaries Genesis. En la mente del asesino (Cuatro, 2006-2007) or RIS Científica (Tele5, 2007), which are much more careful about gender representation but less success in terms of audience.

In the qualitative research, a series of categories derived from the concept of "conservatism" were observed in terms of gender, sexuality, economic status (marginality), alterity (migration), and hierarchy (police body), which were subsequently concretized to the content analysis tab. The results show that private chains were more conservative than public ones, thus showing a time regression in the treatment of these values.

Politically, the period corresponds to that of political rotation of power between socialist governments (Felipe González between 1989 and 1996 and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero between 2004 and 2011) and the popular governments of José M. Aznar (1996-2004). The introduction of private television obeys more to the neoliberal nature of the UCD than the PSOE, and is accompanied by other television phenomena, such as reality-shows and talk-shows, during a time of intense competition between the networks.

RTVE's positioning in the face of these changes is to try to compete in the new market, towing the new chains. This is evidenced, for example, by the fact that RTVE stopped police productions between 2001 and 2007, and it is not until Desaparecida (TVE1, 2007-2008), fifteen years after Brigada Central (TVE1, 1989-1992), when the broadcaster recovers the police genre.

Anna Tous Rovirosa
Departament de Periodisme i de Ciències de la Comunicació
Àrea de Periodisme
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


Tous-Rovirosa, Anna (2019): El género policíaco en la ficción española (1990–2010): el auge de las cadenas privadas y los valores conservadores, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, DOI: 10.1080/14636204.2019.1689705 https://doi.org/10.1080/14636204.2019.1689705

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