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Growing up, my father and I used to watch Hawaii Five-O every single week. It was our personal religion. We never missed it. Although it was in Nigeria and the episodes were about 2 or 3 years old, we loved Steve McGarrett and that famous line, “Book ‘em Dano!” Thus began my adrenaline addiction to pulse pumping, speed chasing murder, cop, good guy/bad guy TV dramas.

After a crazy semester, just wanting to numb my mind from any strenuous intellectual thinking, I started watching the new iteration of the show on Netflix. I love the theme song, as it is the same as for the original show. I have flashbacks of my father every time I hear the music. He loved it and so do I. However, not only did we love this show, we loved many others together. Since then, I love TV drama shows, whodunit, murder mysteries and any cop show. However, over the last five years or so, I have weaned myself off mindless TV and have not watched many shows, though Downton Abbey and other British shows have recently caught my attention. More recently, I have also enjoyed Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, NCIS and Empire.

I enjoy the beginning shots of each episode of the new series of Hawaii Five-O. The lush verdant forests of Hawaii and the amazing waves and beautiful blue waters are captivating. The beaches show a tropical paradise that makes me want to pack a bag and get on the next flight. But, it is TV, not reality.

In Season 3, Episode 22: “Ho’opio” To take Captive – Danny, a cop, beats up a suspect because the guy would not give up the location of a young girl he has kept captive. The show endorses police brutality for the sake of getting to the truth and saving a young six or seven-year-old girl. It is framed in superior moralistic dynamics as it couched in empathy showing the fear of a father who has a daughter that age. Nevertheless, I have noticed how the police, on this show, use any means necessary to get to the truth and to save the innocent. In addition, separate from police action on the show, the murders are particularly gruesome and bloody. It is a violent show. Violent sports also seem to be a recurring theme on the program.

On the other hand, the show does deal with a myriad of relevant issues including sex trafficking, environmental concerns and cultural misappropriation especially as it relates to the native inhabitants of the island. The series shows huge respect for the native traditions. When someone beloved dies, the funeral is on the sea with native language incantations.

Nevertheless, I feel unsettled. Am I contributing to the demise of this society as I watch shows like this? Am I supporting violence as it exists in our society? Is this how police brutality becomes OK with society as TV shows like this program our minds to accept that such violence is a justified means to an end? I am one of those people that when I start reading a novel, I must finish it even if I do not like the story. I feel the same way about TV shows. I feel loyal to them. I feel obligated to watch all the episodes.

Ever since the media has focused attention on police brutality, especially against young African American men, it appears that I can no longer watch this type of tv without thinking of the ethics of it. It is just TV but what we allow into our minds via media unconsciously influences us. Our personal habits matter. What we watch reflects our values and also shapes our values.

How do you choose which shows to watch regularly? How does this tie into your story about yourself? What are your personal ethics regarding TV watching? As a leader, are you conscious about what you feed your eyes and your soul?

Category: Self Care


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