The Consultant Did It.

Patrick Jane

Image via Wikipedia

I pause the PVR and blog because I live alone, and don’t have any TV watching partners.

I watch TV on multiple levels. I think about how what I am watching relates to the real world, and what I can learn from shows. While I watch shows alone these days, I try my best to let myself “think” at least half as much as I would if I was watching it with somebody, and started a conversation.

The consultant did it.

He solved the crime.  Again and again.  This statement could apply to any number of crime shows on the air today, or in the past few years. It’s the current fad. We used to have Private Detective shows solving crimes. Now the Police do it – but with the help of some expert civilian sidekick.

I was watching The Mentalist episode this week. The one where Patrick Jane was working with his Boss’s boos instead of Lisbin, who was on desk duty due to an injury. he was explaining to the chief, why he was abusive to a woman suspect during questioning.

I paused.

If you don’t know The Mentalist, substitute it with Castle, Bones, 11th Hour, or any otherwise where a private citizen is a special consultant to the law, solving crimes. There are dozens of shows with the same premise.  A police team of detectives has non police experts or otherwise smart people helping them catch the bad guys.

I remember reading somewhere(*), that this is hogwash, and police don’t work with consultants in anyway similar to these TV shows.

Today, it occurs to me; why not?

Mr. Monk, and Sherlock Holmes, and Shawn Spencer are all fictional, but they solve creative mysteries in ways the Police can’t. Even before this new rash of sidekick sleuths, there were psychic crime solvers like Medium before them.  On TV, police have almost always had somebody smarter helping them.  I can see why the police would prefer to expose this rumour.  Cops have always had a bad image on TV.

On TV at least, thee partnerships always work. The police have rules to follow, and a specific mentality and personality that make them good cops.  Detectives evolve from the police ranks, but the experts used on TV as sidekicks have obvious skills that could help solve crimes.  Murder Mystery authors do have a different mindset, and Bone specialists can see things in a skull we can’t.  In my mind, I think I’d like to know that police do consult for the better good.  For the end result – criminals caught. I think the force just may complain in the style of a weekly show where the expert consultants are always there, on the case from start tio finish asking questions and doing the work the police department really is respnsible for.

However – there would be advantages to that. Civilians could be abusive and break some of the rules the police can’t. They are built in scapegoats when something goes wrong.  That could be a great advantage. Today I watched Patrick Jane offend and be downright mean to somebody who’s loved one was just killed.  His question got the results he needed, and the police officer who could not have asked the same questions was able to reprimand him and apologize.  If they’d asked the same questions, somebody would be fired and maybe a lawsuit would develop.  I fully realize TV is fiction, and scripts work the way you plan… but the idea still interests me.

Maybe the police could use a “Robin the boy wonder” kind of civilian sidekick standing by.