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This paper critically examines the production of violent female offenders by analyzing their visual representations in two Canadian television investigative documentaries created fifteen years apart. Karla Homolka (offending in 1990-1992) and Terri-Lynne McClintic (transgressing in 2009) were both responsible for committing horrific and unpardonable crimes resulting in significant media coverage throughout Canada.

Despite some similarities and consistencies in both documentaries, anomalies and disparities in coverage serve as the center of my analysis. Against features of both substance and style, a comparative analysis of the documentaries with features closely associated with the production of reality television, I contend that both documentaries are embedded with narratives that emphasize differences in social class and stereotypes that align with traditional gender roles in patriarchal society.

The paper’s argument works to contribute to larger discussions about the production of reality television programming, especially the genre of crime-based shows, and particularly the sub-genre of documentaries.