Getting God Right–and Wrong–on TV

A quick post, to be followed by more later.

One of my new favorite shows is Wanted. It features a team that specializes in fugitive recovery, and the team includes people from LAPD, DEA, US Marshals, ATF, FBI, and Navy Intelligence. It comes to us from the infamous Spelling Television. Thankfully, however, we’ve got an Exec. Prod., Jorge Zamacona who worked on Oz and Homicide.

It’s better than it sounds.

So one character, ATF agent Jimmy McGloin, is a Christian. Not a Bible-thumping, cringe-worthy caricature, but someone with real struggles, real faith-wrestling. In general, I’ve liked what I’ve seen. He’s not an evangelical, but who is? (Just kidding.)

Last week’s episode shows how Hollywood can get God right and wrong in the same episode.

About midway through, McGloin and team leader Conrad Rose are sitting outside an adult bookstore, and Rose orders McGloin in. McGloin refuses, explaining that it’s against his beliefs. When pressed, he quotes: “Don’t participate in the sins of others, Timothy 10:[something].”

Now, I don’t know everything about the Bible, but I do know that: a) there are 2 letters addressed to Timothy, and b) neither has ten chapters. Would it have been that hard to find a real Scripture for this line of dialogue?

Later in that same episode, however, Lt. Rose’s daughter disappears. Rose, who doesn’t profess to believe in God at all, looks out a window and says, in a cracking voice: “Lord…” He’s interrupted by an urgent call and runs out of the room.

Here’s my point. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone in crisis say, “Lord…” on television. But so many people do or would. It was extremely authentic, and I wish I could see more of it.

So right and wrong–in the same episode.

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2 thoughts on “Getting God Right–and Wrong–on TV”

  1. It is indeed interesting to see how television portrays spirituality, in particular Christianity. The whole McGloin incedent in the episode was seemingly typical. However, I too would be very interested to see where the writers would have gone with Rose’s “Lord…” Was it a prayer that was ended prematurely? Was it merely saying the word in vain? Was it a minor outburst of emotion? Either way, it accurately conotated a human response that seems to be ingrained in all of us–the need for God.

    Let me know more of your thoughts… and check out my blog sometime.

  2. I’ll have to check that out. Maybe they didn’t quote the real Bible for legal reasons or to avoid the fire of a misquote/ misuse. Or maybe it’s one of those “who cares if it’s the real thing, just make something up” kind of things. Like when you hear a horrible mispronunciation and no one on the set seemed to notice or care (CSI:Miami where they butchered the pronunciation of 3 Florida counties adjacent to Dade.)–>

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