What is the role of citizens in detective work? Should everyday citizens have a role in police work at all? Is there a danger in using citizens as detectives for police investigations and cold cases? This essay explores how rhetoric in true crime media constructs the role of the listener and the ensuing implications of these constructions. To examine this concept, I undertook a generative criticism of eight episodes of the true crime podcast Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad that span from June 24th, 2019 to August 3rd, 2020. In my study, I provide a base of scholarly knowledge via a literature review focused on rhetorical genre, true crime as a genre, surveillance, neighborhood watch, panopticism, and governmentality. I illuminate the deep-seated metaphor of podcast-as-class and conclude by examining the implications of this metaphor and the larger act of turning listeners into citizen detectives.


Singh, Rohini


Communication Studies; Sociology and Anthropology


Communication Technology and New Media | Critical and Cultural Studies | Mass Communication | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Social Influence and Political Communication | Theory, Knowledge and Science


true crime, genre, Foucault, podcast, generative criticism, rhetorical analysis

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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