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Murderers Row: TV's Killer Characters

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Boy has TV changed. In the old days, cops were the good guys and cold-blooded killers were the bad guys. Now it seems, almost everywhere you look, this formula is reversed: Killers are cool, and the cops are the annoying impediments to their plans. Take a look at this season's shows for a complete reversal of once-dominant notions of good and evil. Many current dramas have as their central character a killer -- a killer who usually goes unpunished. Descendants of envy-inducing Hannibal Lecter, these prime-time killers are Übermenschen, supermen of preternatural insight and guile, of physical strength and wily planning. Since Hannibal won his Oscars, serial killers have been portrayed with sympathy, even admiration, in horror films. Now, television is populated with "heroes," or perhaps anti-heroes, who, measured by earlier standards and practices, would have been deemed scary villains. Joe Friday would spin in his grave. What follows is a cavalcade of killers, a panorama of pain, popping up on our home screens.
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