“Crossing Lines” Is Going to Be a Disaster…

by Kevin Jon Heller

Ever since my friends at Wronging Rights flagged the upcoming NBC series Crossing Lines, which is about an ICC police unit, I’ve been scouring the internet for more information about what will no doubt be an absolute train-wreck of a TV show. Tonight I found this:

Set in exotic locations around Europe, “Crossing Lines” follows a disgraced New York cop, played by William Fichtner, who finds redemption after joining an international police unit based at the Intl. Criminal Court in the Hague that investigates cross-border crimes and hunts down brutal criminals.


“Fans of procedural crime shows will feel very much at home with this new team, but at the same time, the global setting will add a color and flavor to the show that will take audiences on a new and exciting ride.

“Crime has gone global like everything else in our lives and now there is a weekly procedural that dives into this world. At the end of the day, we’re all frightened and concerned about the same things and problems no longer tend to stay regionally contained for too long anymore.”

The series will tackle topical crimes and illicit global trades such as plutonium poisonings, serial killings, kidnappings, human trafficking and drug smuggling, added Bauer.

Where to begin? First, the ICC doesn’t have a police force, international or otherwise. (Perhaps the show should have been set in the OTP — which at least has investigators.) Second, international crimes do not have to be transnational. (Which is the whole point of genocide and crimes against humanity.) Third, the ICC does not have jurisdiction over poisonings (except in armed conflict), serial killing (unless its like Srebrenica), kidnappings (unless they’re like during the Dirty War), or drug smuggling (sorry, Trinidad & Tobago). Fourth, and finally, it will be a very chilly day in the bad place when the ICC investigates a crime committed in Europe.

Other than that, the show sounds completely accurate.


8 Responses

  1. At least the general public gets accustomed to the fact that there exists an International Law and that some international crimes should be punished. Speaking with people in general I usually  hear that IL does not exist, and discover much ignorance about it. For instance I hear regularly that war is legal.

  2. Great… so now members of the American public who think the ICC is ‘threatening America’s sovereignty’ will have a whole new set of fiction… Though, I can’t help but laugh a little at all this… http://internationalnewsandlaw.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/crossing-lines-you-betcha.html
    (I definitely gave you credit for this!)

  3. As we saw with “24” which Fox is looking at bringing back, the false conscious that this kind of show engenders in the American public is a potent way to delegitimize the ICC and IL. In a period of radical right backlash that is relentless, the ICC should write an open letter to the producers and IL experts should urge a boycott of the show. ASIL and ABILA should be on the front lines on this in at least a letter.

  4. Srebrenica was an organised mass execution of over 7,000 men and boys carried out by state organs (military, police and civilian authorities) in a handful of days. It was absolutely nothing like a serial killing!

  5. i always thought Srebrenica did bad things but i didn’t know they  was an organized mass execution of over 7,000 men and boys using  state machinery! that’s horrible

  6. @Mihai Martoiu: agreed— but one thing, where did you hear that was is illegal? War is legal … 

  7. They should have set the series in Vienna at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Although we don’t have a police unit, at least we deal with kidnappings, human trafficking, drug smuggling and other forms of transnational organized crime; not to mention those ex-cops who have found  redemption upon joining the office 😉

  8. Sven,

    Indeed. And Vienna is a much more filmable city than den Haag!

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