Having binge watched the original Netflix series “The Killing,” “The Fall” and “Broadchurch” over the last few weeks, I have homicide on the brain
All of the series have insanely-driven police detectives (as do series like “Law & Order,” et al) who pursue the cases day and night, to the near-exclusion of eating and sleep, and often go rogue to catch the murder. These are, of course, necessary narrative arcs to intensify the excitement and create heroes/heroines and so on.
All to ask: do real-life cops ever go to these lengths and at great cost to their personal lives? I would think that it eventually just becomes an ordinary job and detectives go home at the end of shift to sleep, eat, binge watch cop shows . . .
The First 48 on A&E features real homicide detectives as they work cases. Depends on the case. Sometimes the detectives do go the extra mile to get it solved. Cases involving kids always get a lot of their attention.
One case that I remember was a correction officer and her kid shot in her home. The cops considered her a brother in arms and were pretty determined to solve it. They arrested some people but are having trouble getting it prosecuted.
Episodes can be seen on A&E’s web site or their tv channel.
During a homicide investigation you stay on the trail until it goes cold. But there is a supervisor approving the overtime. I have yet to meet a police officer who is not keenly aware of every minute of overtime being earned. As a detective you know at times you will have to put in long hours but there is no going rogue.
To clarify my earlier post. The detectives on the First 48 put in long hours. Sometimes going a full day without sleep. Interview a lot of witnesses. But they never break any rules. I’d guess the tv cameras puts them on their very best behavior. They probably don’t break them anyway. It’s too easy to get a case thrown out of court.
Being on call seems to be one of the harder parts of the job. Detectives have mentioned they had just barely gotten home and laid down when a call came in. Then they’d be up all night with the new case.
I work for a suburban police force so we don’t have the volume of work that an inner city squad has. I go on call for a week at a time. Sometimes you get slammed. Sometimes I go through the week with no calls. There is an effort to follow up on things during normal working hours if circumstances allow. Sometimes circumstances don’t allow and you just work through the case until you can catch a break.