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Crime and Police Show Writers Rally in Los Angeles and New York

Guest Gregg Mitchell

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Guest Gregg Mitchell

The “Criminal Writing Division” of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) today announced a three-count Bill of Indictment against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and eight unnamed co-conspirators.


During rallies in Los Angeles and New York, writers from over 35 crime and police television series charged the AMPTP with conspiracy to steal the Internet “and all revenues therefrom” and deprive “by fraud, trick, and deceit” entertainment industry workers of their “financial future and well-being,” and with conspiracy to conduct “meaningless negotiations with depraved indifference to the truth and with malice and mendacity aforethought.”


“As crime writers, we navigate a morally ambiguous world, but we do with out ever losing sight of the moral center. We know what's right. And we know bad behavior when we see it - and we've seen plenty of it in the last six weeks,” said Rene Balcer, creator of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He continued, “We're witnessing an assault on fairness, on a basic tenet of American enterprise: that if you create something, you should share in its success. We went on strike in defense of that principle. And it's for that principle we remain on strike.”


The indictments were hand-delivered to AMPTP headquarters in Encino, California and in Foley Square in Manhattan, surrounded by federal and state courthouses. They were also delivered to the main offices of the “co-conspirators” on both coasts. These locations were declared “crime scenes” by the Criminal Writing Division.


Marg Helgenberger, star of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, said: “Strikes are really difficult situations and always have been, but whatever gains we've made - whether it's working conditions, pension and health care, or whatever, have been due to the fact that we can and will strike… This will come to an end eventually, but it won't come to an end until writers feel they are fairly compensated.”


The star of The Unit, Regina Taylor, explained one of the central issues of the writers strike: “The issues are not that complicated - just as songwriters are paid a royalty - so should writers be paid. A lot of writers are middle class citizens, trying to pay their bills, trying to put their kids through school - they need to get paid. It's only fair.”


Pointing out that the series created and written by the assembled writers represent billions of dollars in annual revenues to the studios and networks, Balcer, acting as spokesman for the group, offered an olive branch: “To the lesser conspirators, to the voices of moderation in the AMPTP, we say it's time for you to be heard. Come and talk to us. We are open to plea bargains.”

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