Can you imagine a country where murder never occurs? It would be almost paradise if you take away all the other crimes such as robbery, rape, etc. Nevertheless, the absence of murder wouldn’t be because human beings have moved on from it, but it would be due to it being stopped before it even occurs. That is the premise for the movie Minority Report (2002).
Minority Report takes place in the future of Washington D.C. where a division of the police, known as Precrime are alerted when a murder is going to take place. From there, they would stop the murder before it happens by arresting the would be suspect. They get this information through people who can see into the future known as Precogs.
Now as perfect as this system may be there is a flaw to it. The flaw goes back to how the system works. See, although they arrest the would be murderer, sometimes they wouldn’t. What would happen is that they would get a name of the suspect and the victim, and that’s how they arrest the suspect, but sometimes the names would get mixed up. By the names getting mixed up, the police would arrest the victim rather than the suspect.
But wait, if they arrest the victim, and the suspect goes free, then how does murder not happen if we have a bunch of would be murderers wondering around? Remember, that no murder is premeditated anymore in Minority Report. People kill on the spot, so like rage incidents. For example, if John was driving and then Bob cut him off, which angered John to the point where he would want to kill Bob. The police would get the names of John as the suspect, and Bob as the victim. They would go make the arrest, send John away before he gets to killed Bob. But when the system messed up, they got Bob as the suspect, so they would arrest him, and no murder would happen. The reason for that is because since no murder is premeditated all they have to do is just take 1 of the people out of the equation to prevent it. John isn’t a Ted Bundy, he isn’t a serial killer. He’s just a normal guy who apparently got very angry. For that reason even if the police arrest Bob on accident, by arresting Bob, John has no one to be angry at, therefore he can’t kill Bob if Bob is in jail. From there John carries on with his normal life (that is until someone is unlucky enough to cut in front of him again).
Now as unfair this system may seem that it imprisons innocent people sometimes, the overall effect still worked, murders were not being committed. As long as someone went to jail it was fine. That was the belief of it’s creator which is why he didn’t care. Doesn’t that sound familiar, as long as someone goes to jail, it’s fine, our job is done. Some may say that is how our criminal justice system works in America where the prosecutors in some cases don’t care who exactly did it, as long as a person goes to jail and they prosecute someone, they’re job is done. This is looked at in situations where someone takes a plead deal for a lesser sentence even if they were the ones who committed the crime.
For example, if Jed and Matt robbed someone, and Jed killed the person while Matt was on the lookout, Jed could take a plead deal lying that Matt was the one who killed the person. From there Jed would get the lesser sentence of robbery while Matt would get the higher sentence for murder. The prosecutors wouldn’t care about proving that Jed was the one who killed the person because they’re sending both to jail, so as long as they go to jail, their job is done. This is something that happens which contributes to the fact that less than 10% of criminal court cases go to trial, and less than that is in front of a jury. It’s because of plead deals, and the idea of just getting someone whether that person may be the right person.
Although Minority Report is a science fiction movie whose premise seems to be out of this world, the underlining message of the problem with the criminal justice system is relevant in today’s time.