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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Television has crowded into the darkest corners of society via its crime procedurals. Through the screens in our home we're invited to follow fictional cops as they stumble upon the goriest of fictional crimes scenes and track down fierce fictional murderers, rapists and terrorists. Neither we nor TV's overseers seem particularly interested in the good and honest officers who monitor speed traps or write parking tickets. Unless, of course, a dead body might be found wrapped around a parking meter post.

Law & Order: SVU's been around for 16 seasons already. So it was only a matter of time before a show like Stalker made it to the schedule. The CBS crime procedural pits a team of Los Angeles sleuths against some of the city's most depraved and sneaky villains: fame-starved "fans" who lurk outside celebrity homes, icky fantasies roiling through their brains; obsessed lovers who believe that a toxic combination of persistence and violence may convince their would-be paramours that they are indeed "the one"; mothers or fathers who are forbidden from seeing their children for often very good reasons but somehow can't seem to stay away.

Even one of our investigators is a bit of a stalker himself.

Stalker doesn't deviate much from the well-worn crime procedural template. It's intensely episodic, with each installment centered around a different crime that Jack, Beth, Ben and Janice have to solve, hopefully before the baddie claims another victim. It pushes season-long story arcs off to the side for the most part, with the exception of Jack's backstory. He once had a relationship with Assistant DA Amanda Taylor that resulted in a kid. And while Amanda has forbidden Jack from having any involvement in her son's life, that doesn't keep Jack from spying on them.

If that sounds a little messed up to you, well, you're in good critical company. But it's been the show's salacious sadism that's earned it the most scorn. After the first episode featured a woman essentially tortured to death, The Hollywood Reporter accused Stalker of being "a disgraceful television series depicting the pornography of terror," adding that "under no circumstances should anyone watch." The Los Angeles Times opined that "a show this cynically conceived and constructed is … unforgivable." And TV Guide said that "TV really doesn't get much uglier or more cynical."

But all this outrage was conspicuously missing when  Hannibal showed up on the scene. And  Game of Thrones and True Detectives. And  American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy. Characters in  The Walking Dead are engaging in cannibalism these days—a revelation that made some critics cringe but hasn't done much to lessen the overall enthusiasm for the show.

It's gratifying to hear that everyone's so horrified by Stalker's bad content. But it seems they've decided to care because Stalker is a bad show—while giving a bloody pass to "prestige" dramas.

Plugged In will continue to try to paint both kinds of shows with the same brush.

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Episode Reviews

Stalker: 11-5-2014



Readability Age Range



Dylan McDermott as Jack Larsen; Maggie Q as Beth Davis; Victor Rasuk as Ben Caldwell; Mariana Klaveno as Janice Lawrence; Elisabeth Röhm as Amanda Taylor; Gabriel Bateman as Ethan; Erik Stocklin as Perry Whitley






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