This article assesses the state of the art of current research on crime and the media. It argues that some key problems with previous research lie in simply assuming media effects, or in ascribing a reductionist unity to various aspects of the media and the ways they shape and are shaped by social relations and institutions. In reviewing various bodies of research on crime in the media, it indicates some of the limits of effects research. It further argues that the problematic question of the effects of influences of crime stories has been most effectively dealt with thus far by research that looks at the direct political and institutional effects of crime and the media. This should be supplemented by more interpretive research on the meaning of crime stones for particular audience members. Finally, it suggests that we need a sustained analysis of the interplay between crime news and crime fiction.