TV Viewing Assignment

Some marriages appear to be picture perfect.  There are smiles, shared stares, hand-holding, and many kisses inside and outside of the home, or so it would seem.  What occurs behind the closed doors of the marital home is unknown to the outside world.  In eras past, familys kept their personal affairs private and did not dare discuss any problems with friends or even other family members.  Today, talk shows and televisions commercials encourage sharing everything.  Behaviors are broadly theorized and publicized to serve as a platform for helping victims of abuse as well as helping family members and friends who suspect that a loved one is being harmed.  Crime documentaries are now part of the prevention group rather than just a form of evening entertainment.  These shows are easily found on any network geared toward the female viewing public.  The television show Captured is one of the newest programs focusing on criminal documentaries.
The television program Captured features men and women who have committed a variety of crimes resulting in their later convictions.  Each episode focuses on a strong minded female in a criminal justice role.  Her role may be a lead investigator or something else, but she is headlined and given much credit for her efforts in solving the crime. One such episode entitled Suburban Bombing featured a man named Robert Wheeler who built and placed a homemade pipe bomb under his wifes automobile as a means of collecting an insurance check (Oxygen, 2009).  Wheeler was employed by the Chrysler Company and had extensive training in electronics.  He was not originally a suspect in his wifes car bombing investigation, but a Federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) team began to focus on him later when the earlier suspects could not be linked to the crime.    
The criminal justice system does not discriminate against people because of their gender or for any other reason.  The field is generally overwhelmed with male employees, but Captured focuses on the women who work diligently within the criminal justice system and surpass many of their equals.  The episode discussed here features an ATF Special Agent named Shoemaker.  Shoemaker was investigated Wheelers story claiming that his wife had a bookie to which she owed large sums of money.  This story was later determined to be a fabrication.  She also decided to investigate Wheeler.  Shoemaker was discovered that Wheeler had been married twice before, and both previous marriages had ended when his wives filed for divorce.  His first wife revealed to Shoemaker that as she left one morning for work, a homemade pipe bomb rolled out from under her driver seat and lodged itself between her gas and brake pedal.  No charges in that matter were ever filed against Wheeler.

Shoemaker then secured a search warrant for the Wheelers home.  Although Wheelers wife, Rhonda Wheeler, did not die immediately following the explosion, she later died while in the hospital due to complications resulting from the car bombing.  This investigation now included the charge of pre-meditated murder.
The criminal justice system received an accurate reproduction in the Captured television program.  It is common knowledge that almost all crimes do take some time to solve.  Reality knows that crimes are not solved within a thirty-minute time frame.  It is also known that many investigators hit many dead ends and stale leads during an investigation as well.  Witnesses are often too scared to come forward, or they do not want to believe what they know to be true.  Wheeler, in this case, appeared to be the concerned husband.  He demonstrated this daily by calling the department and inquiring about the investigation into his wifes accident.  This later proved to bite him as his other behaviors suggested otherwise.  The day of his wifes death, he contacted the insurance company before even going to the hospital.  On the day of her accident, he wanted to view the automobile before going to the hospital as well.  These behaviors were originally thought to be that of a husband in shock and disbelief, but Shoemaker began the slow and stressful process of putting the pieces of the puzzle together in order to get her suspect.
Crime documentaries teach the public that no matter what crime is committed, the offender will be apprehended eventually.  On the opposite side, crime documentaries can serve as a teaching device by showing would-be criminals how not to commit a crime.  It can show future offenders how to evade apprehension by committing the perfect crime.  In theory, there is no such thing as a perfect crime, but television programs like this can buy an offender enough time to get out of the country or formulate an alibi that will shield him or her from the law for an undetermined amount of time.  Ultimately these types of shows can hurt the criminal justice system by financially burdening law enforcement agencies with much overtime for investigators who keep hitting brick walls and stale leads.  The above episode demonstrated that justice is still alive and well in America.  Wheeler was arrested, tried, and convicted for the car bombing and death of his wife, Rhonda Wheeler.  He was sentenced to life in prison.


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