European Neurodivergent Detectives and the Politics of Autism Representation


  • Monica Dall’Asta University of Bologna



European TV Crime Series, Autism Representation in Media, Autistic Female Detectives, Autistic Fandom, Reception, Disability Studies


One of the most original, recent contributions of contemporary European seriality to the crime genre has been the introduction of a notable number of detectives repeatedly diagnosed as autistic by autistic online communities. Titles such as the Millennium saga, Sherlock, Forbrydelsen, Bron/Broen, and, more recently, Astrid et Raphaëlle, are all widely debated within autistic online communities. This article investigates the unique critical perspective brought by the autistic parlance on these popular products, through a survey of blogs, social networks, fanfiction, and videos, in English and French. The analysis of this material reveals that there is a whole spectrum of different opinions among autists when it comes to their approval, or disapproval, of media representations of neurodiversity, oscillating between complaints for the persistence of the ‘savant autist’ stereotype and a grateful appreciation of the effort to portray the condition in positive and empowering ways. Most of the comments reflect the stances of the neurodiversity movement and the complex context of autism advocacy, by which autistic individuals reclaim the right to speak for themselves and stand up to fight for a more inclusive society.

Author Biography

Monica Dall’Asta, University of Bologna

Monica Dall’Asta is Professor of Film and Media Studies at the Department of the Arts, Università di Bologna, Italy. She has written extensively on seriality in film and television, film theories, feminist film history and the transnational circulation of popular media culture. She is the author of Trame spezzate. Archeologia del film seriale (Le Mani, 2009) and the editor of the first collection about women’s work in the Italian film industry of the silent period (Non solo dive. Pioniere del cinema italiano, Cineteca di Bologna, 2008). She is also the editor of a special issue of Feminist Media Histories on female found footage cinema (2016). She currently coordinates the Horizon 2020 DETECt project.




How to Cite

Dall’Asta, M. (2021). European Neurodivergent Detectives and the Politics of Autism Representation. Cinéma & Cie. Film and Media Studies Journal, 21(36/37), 145–174.