Real Housewives of Crime: Crime, Law, & Reality TV (FNDS 1607)

Foundations 1607

As a wise woman once said, “until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value” (Cher, Clueless, 1995).

Or is there?

In this class we will ask and answer the following: what does reality TV teach us about crime, law, and justice? In doing so, we will explore issues of crime and law through the lens of reality television (including “true crime” shows and docuseries). Along the way, we will: analyze media constructions of crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system; examine the effects media has (and doesn’t have) on the way we think and act; and engage in “newsmaking criminology.”

Skills acquired in this course—in particular, the ability to evaluate media representations of crime, law, and justice, to synthesize content across disciplines, and to produce informative digital content for the public—will serve students on campus and in future careers.

This course covers topics in the disciplines of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Legal Sociology, and Media Studies.


Who should take this course?

This is a great class for people who love to hate reality TV, hate to love reality TV, or just love reality TV, plain and simple! It’s also a great course for students looking to turn their Netflix binge-watching into an academic pursuit.

More about this course

Course number: FNDS 1607

Number of Credits: 3

Search UM-Dearborn Class Schedule to find out more.

Dearborn Discovery Core requirements met: Critical and Creative Thinking; Social and Behavioral Analysis


Meet your faculty member: Maya Barak, Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

One of the benefits of taking a Foundations course is gaining a faculty mentor that can support you throughout your college career. Get to know Maya Barak, faculty member for Real Housewives of Crime: Crime, Law, & Reality TV.

Maya Barak
Maya Barak


Dr. Maya Barak is an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and affiliate of Women's and Gender Studies. She was raised on far too much television and film, and is a reality TV junkie who loves finding connections between crime, law, and pop culture.


Have questions about this course? Email Dr. Barak at