The presentation of the dead female body, in torn fishnets, as simply a prop for the lead male characters is a good example of the way that violence against women (usually involving rape) is served up by these shows as a form of entertainment. The EW story suggested that such storylines take the place of other depictions of sexuality, which are generally more carefully regulated on network TV:
Much as we hate to bring up that whole Janet Jackson incident, Sconce thinks her little nipple infraction played a part. ”Since the American broadcasting system has more restrictions against sexuality, you can get away more with amplifying violence than you can with amplifying sexuality. It results in this weird sadistic element. Putting women in these sexual situations is a backdoor way of getting more flesh in.” Violence therefore becomes one place where the broadcast networks can compete with cable.
Here's another post from the Women & Hollywood blog analyzing the increase of violence against women on TV. From a study by a conservative media watchdog group (who I'm not usually a big fan of): "They took the data that they had compiled in 2004 and compared it with data from 2009 and found that overall violence irrespective of gender increased 2% and violence against women increased 120%." In five years! That is atrocious.