A new ABC unscripted series will take an unprecedented look behind the scenes at the government’s fight against terrorism.
The network has ordered 11 hours of “Border Security USA” from executive producer Arnold Shapiro (“Big Brother”). Shot on location throughout the United States, the series will focus on the efforts of border protection agencies to halt illegal smuggling and immigration.
A typical episode might jump from a border patrol in Texas to security screeners at a New York airport to a Coast Guard boat off Puerto Rico.
“Border” is billed as the first multiepisode television series to be shot in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as several other government agencies.
This show has the same title as CBC’s non-reality show, but the description in the article makes it sound less like a show about counter-terrorism and border security and more like an attempt to exploit every possible kind of border-related fear. The producer admits that they haven’t actually seen any terrorists getting caught, but “we’ve seen a few people not admitted because they’re on watch lists. Nobody wants to be the officer who lets in the next terrorist.” In other words, you won’t see terrorism foiled, but you will see some hard-core profiling of people with foreign-sounding names.
I am going to take a guess that if this thing works out, it will have to put less emphasis on the terrorism stuff and more on the other aspects of border security, like illegal immigration and smuggling. Open exploitation of terrorism fears is very 2003; even 24 has had to back off from that a little bit. Large segments of today’s audience are not going to be very pleased to see people turned back for, in the words of the article, having “relatives with ties to a terrorist organization.” It will need to be more like Cops, where the audience gets to cheer for the arrest and beating-up of people who are actually breaking the law.