I’m a huge fan of murder mysteries. Big fan of them. Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, CSI, Castle; You name it, I’ve probably been obsessed with it at some point. There’s just one thing about all these shows that perplex me, though.
Who actually does what, and how close to the truth do these shows get? They always list one or a couple, or even a group, of consultants for the shows on the credits, that cover aspects that the shows really need to know about to make the things believable. On the set of House, they have medical consultants. On the set of CSI, they have medical and police consultants that make sure cases can actually be worked like that, and that people could die/survive/act in certain ways.
And yet, that doesn’t mean much if the basis of the shows are all wrong in the first place. The consultants can argue until their blue in the face, but if the writers and network producers want to make a show based on Interns working at a Coroner’s office, then no amount of talking logic and plausibility would do the consultants any good. The network producers and writer’s want to say that This group of people us audience are watching are not just completely capable of solving cases, but are the Only ones capable of solving them. That’s what they’re there to do.
Case in point, in Diagnosis Murder, not only is the county Coroner/M.E based in the hospital, which is on the contrary to almost every other Murder Mystery series on TV, but the main Sleuth is a Medical Consultant to the Police and his son is the lieutenant. I’m sure there’s Dr/Policeman Father/Son relationships, and i’m sure there are many doctors who are consultants to the Police. Actually, it’s required for the police to have a medical consultant. But what I don’t think would happen is that a full time Doctor who is a Police Consultant in his spare time, having that much spare time on their hands to go snooping, being able to get in the amount of places that Mark gets into without a lot of passes and pre-arranged permissions and legally collecting that much evidence to put guilty persons behind bars. I don’t know much about Coroners, but I’m also pretty sure that Amanda’s just based in the hospital so that she can have as much to do with the show as the E.R doctors. Because, logically, when they’re short of doctors, they’re really going to want a Coroner helping out. */sarcasm*
Actually, that might be logical if they’re that short of doctors. I might have been a patient in every hospital in my area, but that doesn’t mean I know exactly what goes on at all times, behind the scenes. My logical thought is that, if you are an E.R patient (That’s A&E to us Brits!), the last kind of specialist you want to be seeing, is a Coroner. But that’s derailing slightly.
In CSI, it’s the Criminalists who gather up all the evidence and put a case towards the accused to prove whether or not the accused in guilty or not. In Quincy, it’s the Medical Examiner (Who is based on another floor of the police station, as is the coroner from CSI).
In Castle, it’s a team of Detectives with the help of a Crime writer. The reasoning for Castle, the aforementioned Crime Writer, going along on cases, is that after the first episode, where a murderer was acting out the murders from his best selling book (He quite literally went by the book!), Castle liked the leading Detective and wanted to shadow her for inspiration of his next book series. Now, as much as I love this show, and I do understand him helping them out on cases because Castle is quite egotistical, I can’t see them Always needing his help. They did well before him, and sure, use what you’ve got to your disposal when he’s around, but they don’t need him. And I think they’ve forgotten that for the sake of a romantic plot device.
Another thing that differs from show to show, is what level of the Police are the ones in charge of the investigations. I’m not sure which are the equivalent of our good ole British PCs, but in most shows they’re Lieutenants, others they’re detectives. In Criminal Minds, they’re a special section of the FBI that investigate murders and abductions when other departments are at a loss. They are the House of Murder Mystery’s.
And I won’t go into Monk or NCIS.
The only thing all of these shows can agree on, including Criminal Minds, is that they never want the main F.B.I department involved. They are the universal enemy, for when they get involved, they will seemingly ignore little clues that are so obvious to the departments we as audiences are following, and go in with guns a’blazing. They’ll put lives at risk, not just their own, to catch their serial killer/rapist/abductor.
I highly doubt that’s the case in real life, but that’s the whole point of this entry. Does any of this resemble anything that happens in real life?
I really can’t say.