The Mother of All Murder Mysteries: Los misterios de Laura

LOUIS, Anja (2020). The Mother of All Murder Mysteries: Los misterios de Laura. Modern Languages Open.

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Police Inspector Laura Lebrel, divorced mother of twins, with a disorganised personal and professional life is an unlikely heroine for a police procedural. Yet not only does she solve every murder mystery with uncanny ease, she is one of Television Española’s (Spanish State Television) poster girls of success. As an extreme example of genre hybridization (police procedural, murder mystery, sitcom, workplace and family drama), there is something for everybody in the identification process and entertainment value, thus maximising the target audience, bringing the whole family to reunite in front of the TV set. This article explores if and how female identities are still embedded in a phallocentric imaginary and to what extent this series breaks the conventions of crime drama. To this end I discuss Cawelti’s now classic notions on the social function of formula culture such as murder mysteries and combine them in a fruitful discussion with Plantinga’s concepts of character engagement and concern-based construals. Plantinga’s analysis of the emotional viewing experience allows us to take seriously a popular TV show that might otherwise be decried for its cheap emotionalism. This article fills a significant critical gap in the field of Spanish visual culture. Positioned at the intersection between Hispanic Studies, gender studies and TV studies, it gives space to a productive cross-fertilisation of theories of spectatorship, comedy, and formula culture. It thus fulfils a dual purpose of contributing to both Hispanic Studies and the international body of gender and TV Studies. Central to my discussion will be the issue of women in the workplace and the perennial question of how professional women negotiate the public/private divide.

Item Type: Article
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 11:39
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 20:01

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