Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Empty Promises: Personal Involvement

Sometimes I think the TV crime drama writers are on crack. Harsh? Well, let’s consider one topic that comes up on every single popular network show without fail. In fact, when it begins to show up, I know the show is too mainstream. What do you think my little pet peeve might be?

Of course, you looked at the title, it's the "empty promises." For some reason, and Crossing Jordan seems to be the worst offender, every week they have Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, a medical examiner, (who never does any work in my estimation, she’s hardly ever in the autopsy area), making promises to victims. It could be a mother, a child, a girlfriend, hey, she makes promises to all the victims no matter; and says, “I promise, we’re going to find the person who did this!”

Argh. Give me a break. To begin, let’s assume that law enforcement and forensic scientists are professionals. In order to do their job, they must remain detached. Why? Well, most forensic scientists never leave the lab and when they do get evidence to analyze, it usually has a case number on it. In order to do what a scientist is supposed to do, and that is, to test evidence, they perform a series of whatever it is their department does, without trying to taint the evidence, convict someone in particular, or, it wouldn’t be impartial—the keywords for science. Looking for impartial results. And usually they are doing several tests to make sure that there are no assumptions—just chemical answers or adequate testing of unknowns against knowns. That’s it.

They would be a fool to make promises of any kind to a victim. First of all, with the backlog they’re working under, they might not see that evidence for weeks!

And if they got personally or emotionally balled up in a crime, they’d be in the loony bin before month’s end. Who has that much compassion? It’s just ridiculous. Every time I hear those empty words, “I promise you . . .” I just want to pull my hair out. It’s emotional drivel and good for a story, but honestly, not actual day time reality.


Ty Vaughn said...

Well said. While it does make for more interresting TV, it's hard to stay intellectually detached from the topics whatever CSI type show is on and accept that these characters accurately portray real world investigators. Insofar as these characters have real world type titles and use real world type techniques, I suppose they're somewhat accurate, if a touch overstated, but otherwise the attempts to 'warm' the characters can indeed get in the way of the clarity of their real world reflections.


Jordan said...

The fact of the matter is that television is a form of detachment from reality. If there is a person who is watching TV to get in touch with what is going on in reality they are beyond help anyway. If they did make a TV show that reflected real life investigation it would be boring, depressing, and certainly not receive any ratings at all. The writers are creating a sense of emotional involvement so that they can develop the character as someone who the given audience can relate to. It's was well said and I can understand where you are coming from, but it's just about ratings and has little to do with reality.


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