The new TV season just started. Although I’m no longer teaching screen and TV writing, I still feel an obligation to watch all the new shows. To have something to talk about perhaps. To know what I want to watch on those nights when none of my old favorites are on and I just need a TV fix.
One of my guilty pleasures—after Billy the Exterminator and Project Runway and all the other pseudo-reality shows—are detective stories: cop stories, private eye stories, private eye working with cop stories (think Castle, a definite favorite), PBS stories. Perhaps it’s a carryover from the time I auditioned for the role of Nancy Drew when I was a teenager. (I was really a Judy Bolton fan, but I would have gladly killed to play Nancy—a possible mystery plot there.)
The problem with these shows is that someone has to die. That’s what gets the story going. That’s why the cops are called in, the detective is hired, Mrs. Marple and Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes start poking around. Sometimes there is just a mystery in place—a missing jewel, a nasty family reunion—but even then, soon someone is found lying somewhere not breathing and oozing blood over the nicely polished floor, the cobblestone path, the expensive wedding gown.