Heroes gone Psycho: interrogational torture in post-9/11 Television Fiction
De la Cruz Ventosa, Aixa
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This dissertation analyzes the recurrent presence of ¿torturer-heroes¿ in post-9/11 television series and tries to ascertain whether these shows serve the agenda of legitimizing the use of interrogational torture that was (and probably still is) used against terrorist suspects in the War on Terror. ¿Torturer-heroes¿ are heroes who engage in torture and remain heroic because their actions serve a greater good. They often operate under the narrative framework of the Ticking Time Bomb scenario: there is a bomb about to go off and the terrorist that can stop it does not cooperate. Under this sense of urgency, torture seems either excused or justified. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Ticking Time Bomb case was often invoked as an argument for the legitimization of torture in exceptional circumstances and to justify the abuses committed by the U.S. in the War on Terror. Therefore, this dissertation contrasts political, legal, philosophical and historical discourses on interrogational torture with their fictional representations, analyzing a corpus of fourteen television series, from 24 to Homeland, that feature at least one instance of interrogational torture carried out by the ¿good guys (and girls)¿ and trying to elucidate the extent to which they disseminate or contest contemporary power discourses.