Food/Ag Geekout Moment: Factory Farm Pop Culture Showdown!

I'm not wild about cop shows on TV. Most are boring, the format is stale and story lines have become increasingly absurd.  Also, I think it’s completely insane that there are so many different versions of CSI and Law & Order.  Nonetheless, I was excited about two recent cop show episodes – because both featured plots involving industrial agriculture!

The shows (Bones and CSI: Miami) aren’t intended to be in-depth examinations of contemporary food production.  But the stories include some good information about the ills of industrial ag – and we're always glad when these issues percolate into the public consciousness.

Naturally, after viewing both programs, I felt compelled to pin them head-to-head in an epic showdown for the Best Industrial-Ag-Themed Cop Show Episode of 2009 Award.

Here’s the analysis:

Bones – “The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken Suit”

Synopsis : The operator of a chicken factory farm dies.  The police suspect fowl play [insert groan].  View the episode.

Thumbs Up:

Thumbs Down:

CSI: Miami – “Bad Seed”

Synopsis: A woman is killed by E. coli; her boyfriend dies after contracting botulism; CSI traces it all back to a shady corporation involved in factory farming and genetically modified crop production.  Visit the CSI: Miami website.

Thumbs Up:

Thumbs Down:

And the winner of the Best Industrial-Ag-Themed Cop Show Episode of 2009 Award is… CSI: Miami, “Bad Seed”!!!!

This is just our verdict…if you watch the shows and care to cast a vote, please do so in the comment section.

Yeah, the plot takes liberties with, you know, science and the real-world characteristics of agribusiness, food safety oversight, government bureaucracy, etc., but we like how the story wove together a wide range of issues to illustrate the complexity and interconnected nature of the problems created by industrial food production.  But don’t let this go to your head, CSI – if anyone even thinks about launching another new iteration of CSI in some other city, the Best Industrial-Ag-Themed Cop Show Episode of 2009 Award will be rescinded.  Immediately.