I was watching a rerun of Law & Order a few days ago, and the episode ended with the upper-crust murderess getting off on a technicality, smirking at a stunned McCoy and sauntering out of the courtroom. A though came to me suddenly - Perry Mason would have never let this happen.
In the classic TV crime or court dramas, the bad guys never walked, nor did the innocent ever serve time. I can’t think of a single program aired before 1980 or so that left its viewers, even occasionally, reeling from injustice when the credits rolled. At the very worse, the killer walked out of the courtroom to be gunned down by his victim, a la Bruce Willis in Miami Vice - justice poetic, if not strictly legal. My question is, when was the shift? When was the American public finally ready to deal with the fact that the world, and more specifically, their own legal system, just wasn’t perfect? Were there any early exceptions?