I like TV shows about crime, but over the years I have found that there are number of recurrent themes in these law enforcement programs that drive me crazy. Here are a few examples:
KNOCKING ON A CRIMINAL’S DOOR: When a cop knocks on a suspect’s door, he is always home. Don’t bad guys ever go to a flick or to the 7-11? Or out for an afternoon heist? Usually it’s the suspect’s old lady (the preferrred gangster term for wife or girlfriend) who answers the door. She tells the cops he’s not there while he is sneaking out the back window and will quickly be tackled in an alley. Let’s put a few officers in blue at those back windows. I know Cagney and Lacey are looking for work.
THE BARTENDER: Cops constantly show bartenders pictures of customers who might be guilty of a crime. The bartender shrugs and claims he doesn’t recognize the person, so Mr. Policeman threatens to report that his beer glasses are dirty. All of a sudden, a brainstorm: “Yeah, she was in here three weeks ago Tuesday wearing a yellow blouse and tight blue skirt with a man about 20 years older than her with gray hair who had on a three-piece suit and a tattoo on his neck.” Don’t underestimate the power of the Board of Health.
PARTNERS: Every male cop on TV has a female partner who is beautiful. I mean really, really beautiful. This wouldn’t seem to be the type of profession to attract such a stunning beauty. Why would a woman like that want to investigate a murder? Did you just say “because she’s drop-dead gorgeous?” STOP, you’re killing me!
SWAT TEAMS: When a SWAT team goes into some dangerous situation, everyone is wearing bullet-proof vests and crash helmets, and carrying a protective shield—except the stars of the show, who sport a nice sweater vest and cap that says FBI or NYPD. It might as well say: “I’M A CELEBRITY: DON’T SHOOT ME.”
VIDEO CAMERAS: Perps need to realize that video cameras are everywhere: hotel hallways, street corners, bathrooms, warehouse parking lots. And yet, you never see anyone wearing a mask on television. The Lone Ranger and Lady Gaga don’t count. I’m only talking about bad guys.
ARREST: A man has just been apprehended for a felony. The police have wrestled him to the ground and beaten the stuffing out of him, but now they are concerned he may bump his fragile little head on the car door frame when they stuff him in the vehicle. They didn’t care that much when they kicked him during the arrest.
HOTEL DOORS: Cops break into hotel rooms by simply batting their shoulders into the door. Sorry, that can’t be done. No way. Oh, you’re holing up at Motel 6? Never mind.
Finally, when a murderer throws someone out a window, the victim always lands on a car hood, never the street. With alternate side of the street parking, the odds are you’re going hit the pavement half the time.
Well, I gotta go. Someone is banging on the front door. I hope my old lady left the back window open.