My Gripe with Crime Shows

I enjoy crime shows. It’s somewhat of a guilty pleasure.

Who doesn’t enjoy Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle on, well, Castle, making snide remarks and terrible jokes and being generally a rather poor substitute for Captain Malcolm Reynolds? I’ll happily forgive the premise that a writer accompanying police on investigations, busts and interrogations is slightly on the ridiculous side because I’m almost 100% certain that with things like insurances, liabilities, the mountain of paperwork and evil shark defence attorneys it could never actually happen, because I like to watch Nathan Fillion be charming and rogueish.

And what’s not to love about Abby Scuito, the pigtailed, tattoed semi-goth girl (she’s far too chipper to be a fully blown goth, really), who will blow your mind with wicked science, despite the fact that she seems to be the only scientist working for the entire organisation, mashes keys instead of typing when she’s “hacking” with McGee and stands up all day wearing really ridiculous shoes (that I secretly covet)? She’s a breath of fresh air.

*also, I pretty much dressed exactly like that at work myself, lab coat and all (but minus impractical shoes) for several years.

But no matter how much I enjoy them, no matter how good any plot twists or magnificent bastard moments there are, they all share the same fatal flaw – the victim’s families.

Very rarely, if ever, have I seen a murder victim’s family behave the way they would in reality and for some ridiculous reason, this is the one thing that bugs me the most about the way these shows are written, not the corny jokes, not the formulaic story line, not the cliches and the overuse of done to death tropes, this. I understand that given television as the medium that there are things that just don’t translate well as they would in a book – like a murder victim’s spouse being rendered incoherent with grief or rage and being completely unable to speak about them without breaking down into a fit of mournful wailing. We wouldn’t be able able to understand what was being said and for the sake of moving the story along to fit in their 40 minutes they mostly cut out the incapacitated grieving.

I can tell you for a fact that if anything ever happened to my husband, daughter, brothers, sister or parents, you’d hear me wailing and screaming all the way out to Pluto.

Seeing a family member shed an actual tear wouldn’t hurt the storyline any. I feel it would lend to the realism, particularly when faced with a roadblock in the investigation the plucky detective/sidekick inevitably declares that “this was someone’s mother/father/sister/brother/husband/wife/etc ad nauseum and I owe it to them to find the truth” or something along those lines. If it actually looked like the family cared, hey, so might I a little more.

Oh wait, there’s another gripe that I have. People being interviewed casually over dead bodies not being significantly freaked out when their boss/neighbour/friend/acquaintance is the one strewn on the floor lifeless? Puh-lease. Again, I know that we’ve only got a 40 minute time slot, but would it hurt to have the interviewee say “Gee I’m terribly distraught looking at that there corpse, mind if we take this outside so I can calm down and not have to look at my dead flatmate?”. It’s kind of cruel, really.

What are your gripes with crime shows? I know you all watch them – there has to be a reason that CSI Miami is on it’s tenth season despite the absolute campishness of Horatio Caine (or perhaps because of it?).

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3 thoughts on “My Gripe with Crime Shows

  1. I love crime dramas. My personal favorites are CSI, CSI:NY, Grimm and Criminal Minds. Personally, the biggest issues I have with some of these shows is the freaking uber zoom-in and enhance technology they have.

    They’re all like “oh look, we can totally zoom and enhance the image on this chick’s glasses because it reflects the reflection of the mirror she’s looking at. And the corner of that mirror reflection reflects the TV screen which shows a corner of the killer’s hat. Then let’s zoom and enhance on the hat and get a super clear image on that hat’s logo. Oh awesome, the killer works at Joe’s Garage.”

    WHAT THE HELL.

    • Oh. My. God. YES! That’s my second biggest issue! I know I can’t zoom, rotate and enhance to anywhere near that level of accuracy and I’m betting that my camera has more pixels in it than a traffic camera or an ATM.

      I haven’t watched Grimm yet, but I love Criminal Minds because it’s slightly different. And slightly creepier too, since it touches on how deranged people can be.

  2. Pingback: My Top Ten Mystery/Crime Shows: Part One « True Writes

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