In France, the UK, Germany, the US, and Israel, a growing number of films and television series are set ‘behind the scenes’ of democratic regimes faced with terrorist threats. These works reveal a moral state of the world. They may be analysed as ‘mirrors’ of society, or as ideological tools. But they can also be understood as new resources for the education, creativity, and perfectibility of their audiences; as the emergence of a form of ‘soft power’ that can serve as a resource for public policies and democratic conversation. Because of their format (weekly/seasonal regularity, home viewing) and the participatory qualities of the Internet (tweeting, sharing, liking, chat forums), series allow for a new form of education by expressing complex issues through narrative and characters. As a result, TV series are increasingly recognised in current research. However, their aesthetic potential for visualising ethical issues and their capacity at enabling a democratic empowerment of viewers has not yet been analysed ; nor their power for confronting cultural and social upheavals underway, and developing a collective inquiry into democratic values and human security.


DEMOSERIES brings together a team of scholars of moral philosophy, film studies, digital media and cultural data, sociology, law and political science, to explore a corpus of TV security series from conception to reception. Doing so requires a particularist ethics based on attention to multi-faceted situations, paired with qualitative methods (interviews with security experts, showrunners, viewers; analyses of images, tropes, words; ethnography of reception) and quantitative methods (tweets and web analytics). By elucidating how these series are conceived by their creators and audiences, DEMOSERIES thus aims to understand if and how they might play a crucial role in building the awareness necessary for the safety of individuals and societies, and in creating shared and shareable values in the EU and beyond.


DEMOSERIES will focus on the genre we define as security TV series, which is best represented by: 24 (Fox, 2001-2010; 2014), Homeland (Showtime, 2011-…), The Looming Tower (Hulu, 2017), Berlin Station (FX, 2016-…), Le Bureau des Légendes (Canal +, 2015-…), MI-5[Spooks] (BBC 1 & 3, 2002-2011), The State (Channel 4, 2017), Hatufim (Aroutz 2, 2010-2012), Fauda (Yes Oh, 2015-2017). TV series on the history of intelligence and national security, such as The Americans (FX, 2013-2018) and Deutschland 83 (RTL, 2015-…), which take audiences back to the Cold War era, are also flourishing.