Assessing the Realism of Police Series: Audience Responses to the Russian Television Series Glukhar’

29 Jun 2018

This study builds upon and expands existing research on the perceived realism of media texts. I study debates that took place across several online forums about Russia’s most famous police series Glukhar’ at a time during which police legitimacy in many countries, including Russia, was in crisis. I address the questions of how media users assess the realism of Glukhar’ online. I outline 13 means of realism evaluation that media users employ, offering a more systematic and detailed model than those proposed by existing studies. I argue that media users’ concern with realism of fictional texts signals their longing for interpretations of the social issues which they think the text refers to. I conclude that media users indeed refer to the real police when they discuss the fictional police, and I identify four patterns in these discussions. I hypothesize that the openness of digital communication might motivate media users to evaluate a media text’s realism because they might believe that collectively they will be able to do this accurately.