Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Seriously Sloppy Sleuths: The Best and Worst of TV Detectives

Flynn and Provenza of The Closer
They’re even better when they’re bad.

We can’t all be perfect all of the time, and let’s face it, flawed characters are eminently more interesting, but there is a difference between a character who is deeply flawed and a character who makes mistakes to move the story along.
Let’s examine a few cases in-depth:
Flynn & Provenza, The Closer & Major Crimes
Quite a partnership, these two can be quite good at their jobs, but when they blow it, they really blow it. Like the time where they were arguing about where Provenza kept his gun in front of a suspect who then grabbed the gun.  Or when they lost all the evidence in a case because they wanted breakfast. Or my personal favorite: when they found a dead body in Provenza’s garage and left it there because they were already late for skybox seats at the Dodger game.
Verdict: Flynn & Provenza mistakes are always a joy to watch.

Sheriff Emma Swan, Once Upon A Time
There are many people in Storybrooke, Maine who are not qualified for their jobs (Jiminy Cricket as a psychiatrist for one) but Emma Swan sure got that sheriff job fast and has managed to keep it. Still, one would hope that she would apply reasonable amounts of rigor to a murder investigation, but time and time again she makes mistakes I don’t see a real sheriff making, like when she accepted the phone records of a murder suspect from a former newspaper reporter rather than calling the phone company directly. Or when she sent a new employee, with no police experience, to look for a potential dead body by herself in the woods.
Verdict: While I love watching this show, I am not impressed with Emma’s detective skills.

Stana Katic as Kate Becket in Castle.
Kate, you should know bringing Castle as back up is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Detective Kate Beckett, Castle
This one I will admit is a little unfair. We wouldn’t have a show if the fictional Mayor of New York hadn’t blessed best-selling mystery writer Richard Castle’s shadowing of Kate. And I love this show. Love the characters. Love the premise. Love it when Castle figures out who the bad guy is. But sometimes I just have to wonder why:
  • Beckett never even tries to call for backup
  • It doesn’t faze her to walk into serious crime scenes with Castle unarmed and untrained
  • She allowed Castle to carry her away from Captain Roy Montgomery like a sack of potatoes right before the Captain sacrificed himself. Seeing her flail about in his arms just didn’t ring true to me.
Verdict: I still love this show.

Have you seen any sloppy TV detective work lately?

This story originally appeared at Criminal Element. 

1 comment:

  1. The first thing I thought of was the Dodger's game episode. When they found out the body had disappeared it was hilarious. And I love Castle too so I suspend my disbelief for it.