February 1, 2017

Teaching Law With Television: The Case of Law & Order


Kenneth D. Agran's Investigative Criminal Procedure: A Law &; Order Casebook (West Academic Publishing (2017). Here's a description of the book's contents.

This innovative and groundbreaking book includes access to 12 complete episodes of the popular television show LAW & ORDER that vividly and accurately depict various aspects of Investigative Criminal Procedure. Instructors may request a complimentary copy of the book that provides access to the companion eBook, which seamlessly incorporates scenes from the show, excerpts from over 200 U.S. Supreme Court opinions, and "black box" summaries of the law to clarify the constitutional rules binding upon law enforcement during the investigation of crimes. In particular, the book comprehensively covers the constitutional rules governing searches and seizures, the limitations on police questioning and interrogation practices, and the doctrines regulating police identification procedures. A Teacher's Manual includes valuable teaching tips, coverage suggestions for courses of various lengths, detailed notes and summaries for each case, and classroom-tested exercises that, along with the LAW & ORDER segments, will improve students' engagement and enhance their understanding of the core concepts in Investigative Criminal Procedure. West Academic is proud to have worked with NBCUniversal to bring this one-of-a-kind textbook to the market.

Professor Agran notes that part of his inspiration comes from his law school experiences in a 1994 course taught by Charles Nesson. Certainly what he describes is new and different. And his own book is both clever and innovative. But I would point out that (ahem) some people have pointed the way, even before 1994. I tried to interest another legal publisher in this same idea back then. I still remember the name of the publisher's rep who failed to respond to my inquiries about a law and television casebook approach to teaching after encouraging me to lay out a detailed plan. Sigh.

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