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‘Crime Patrol’: On a mission for 12 years

MUMBAI: One of the first TV shows based on real crime stories, ‘Crime Patrol’ on Sony Entertainment Television has crossed the 12-year milestone.

Crime PatrolBack in 2003, the show had a seasonal run on the channel and is currently in its fourth season titled ‘Crime Patrol Satark’ airing three days a week from Friday to Sunday at 11 pm.

The show has also been consistent in delivering ratings for the channel, which then went on to launch a couple of more crime-based shows like ‘Adaalat’ and ‘Bhanwar’. One of its other long-running crime shows is ‘CID’ that has been on air for over 17 years now.

Explaining the success of the show, SET chief creative director Ajay Bhalwankar says, “The show works well and reaches out to people across markets and demographics. The spectrum is huge and we are able to capture it without diluting or dumbing down the content and keeping the sensitivity alive.”

The series creator and director Subramanian Iyer says that the show has highlighted a number of issues for the first time.

“Issues like honour killing and human trafficking were not spoken of or shown on TV before. I have come across schoolteachers who say that one should watch the show to build awareness. We don’t sensationalise anything as we believe in communicating the message,” he mentions.

The channel has built the show as a social platform to discuss issues and create awareness around them. Host Anoop Soni talks about how and why the crime happened and gives tips on how it can be prevented.

Ajay-BhalwankarBhalwanker explains that they don’t treat it as a crime show that revels in blood and fights. “It’s more of a social platform. We try to focus on the incidents happening around us and advise viewers about how they can be safe.”

Soni says that it takes a lot of time and research to choose a case, work on every small detail, and develop it as an episode.

“We don’t want to create shocking masala. Our first thought is that people should be aware of the crimes and prevent it.”

The research for the stories has often got them into trouble. The makers once wanted to present a case about a man whose medical report said he was HIV positive. It later transpired that the report was faked by a lab to wheedle money from the man. The story could not be telecast and created a lot of clamour.

“Similarly, the Nirbhaya case wasn’t the first rape case we were showing. It was sensationalised from the start and we were prevented from telecasting the episode,” Soni explains.

While crime-based shows generally target male audiences, ‘Crime Patrol’ looks to target the women in the house, states Bhalwankar.

Police have acquired around 150 CDs of various episodes for training purposes of their officers to help them to learn about the investigation process.

When asked about how the team manages such minute details in research, Iyer says that they work with several sources such as journalists, stringers, police, etc., who help them with the information.

In fact, the script for each episode is about 12–14 pages while the research takes 20–40 pages. Iyer reveals that for the Nirbaya case, they had a research report of approximately 2,000 pages. It takes the team three to six months to work on a case. This explains why SET could not increase the number of episodes in a week, as it would be quite difficult to present a case within such a short time.

SET also tries to help people by providing helpline numbers or making donation announcements.

All this, says Bhalwankar, has added to the show’s credibility and people watch it seriously and not as entertainment.