Finding stuff on cop shows

This post totally fits the name of this forum: mundane and absolutely pointless.

The only police shows I watch are the three Law & Orders. I’m fascinated by the way the investigators go to some government office, doctor’s office, school office, accountant’s office, or whatever, and they need all the people who did something-or-other in the last year/month/week, and the office person goes to a file cabinet and pulls out a handful of files, and that’s it. It’s what they’re looking for.

The detective(s) sit down at the desk and in the first couple of files they find evidence that the person was out of the country, that they didn’t pay their utility bill, that they flunked out of school, that the were treated for some infectious disease when they were five, that they’ve had hair implants… Hell, I can’t find stuff on my own desk that fast.

No conclusion, really. Just something I’ve observed. Carry on. :cool:

And when they interview people, even if they don’t ask the right question, the witness says something that triggers a thought that leads the detectives to the KEY to the whole murder mystery.

AND how, even during or near the verrrrrrry end of a trial, something doesn’t quite sit well with the prosecutors, so they go digging right to the point where they torpedo their own prosecution and charge someone else, because they are so committed to justice.

Slightly on topic: I just started playing Batman: Arkham Asylum. The first person he tracks is by finding his whiskey flask, then following the whiskey vapor trails in the air that he left behind. And then, get this, the Joker figures out that’s how Batman is tracking the guy, and kills him so he can’t leave any more trail. Bwuh?

I’m reminded of the Monty Python line “it’s only a model”.

It’s only a one hour show.

Their only alternative to this kind of short cut is an extensive montage of questioning, searching and other work. That would get really old really fast.

Besides, the body count in most of these shows in one season is closer to the historical bodycount of entire major cities. Hell, Walker, Texas Ranger probably killed more people than every Texas Ranger there has ever been, combined. And let’s not get started on Jessica Fletcher.

Back to the point, it isn’t real, and it is only a one hour show. They have about 44 minutes to figure it all out, and they have to do it or there would be no show. No one wants to watch episode after episode of NCIS: Unsolved Cases.

Exactly. It’s known as dramatic license. You show what’s important and leave out the boring parts.

Evidently, people would prefer to keep the boring parts these days.

Do you mean me? I’m not saying I WANT to see the boring parts. Just commenting… it’s one reason why I don’t like reality shows. I like dramatic license, plots, interesting twists and turns. If I want reality, I can watch my dogs sleep on the carpet. THAT’S reality.

Any file they seek is in the top drawer of the filing cabinet.

One of my favorite cop shows is Castle, which takes a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach to the evidence-gathering. When Detective Beckett wants some information (or wants the audience to have some information), she asks a guy named Esposito (Exposition) to go get it for her. Gotta love it.

I’ll grant that cross-referencing and paper shuffling makes for lousy entertainment. I’ve always been more interested in how, when they interview anyone outside of the precinct, that person cannot be bothered to stop doing their job for the 90 seconds it takes to answer their questions.

Popular things to be doing include:
[li]Walking between classes at college, which will end with the character saying they’re “late for class”[/li][li]Stacking boxes in the back of a van[/li][li]Continuing to direct a play rehearsal or similar[/li][li]Wait tables[/li][/ul]
If the cops dropped by my work for a chat about a recent homicide, I could probably find 5 minutes to talk to them exclusively.

Case in point, “The Killing” on AMC.

No matter where the detectives are, even inside big buildings where you and I would be waiting for a signal, they never fail to get that important cell phone call while their partner is interviewing the man on the street.

Off topic, but I have to say that my files at work are organized so that, if someone comes in asking for some document as far back as 2008, I can pull it out of my files in less than 60 seconds. Anything older than 2008 would require me to go down to the basement files, although I have a file in my desk that indexes all the basement files, so I know which file box out of dozens I will have to open in the basement before I go down there. I do this because, so often I AM asked to pull something out at the drop of a hat that is ancient, I have learned to keep them filed properly. I wish my home was this organized. But what you see on TV IS possible.

Moved MPSIMS --> Cafe Society.

And whenever they google, the link they want is always on top.

I wish I had their search engines.

heh. if Stephen King novels represented reality, the population of Maine would be zero by now.

Is it as ponderous as “Rubicon” was?

On the plus side, she must have the most extensive funeral wardrobe in the history of the world.

Actually, from what I remember, they usually do a better job than that. When they talk to someone to find the file, they usually refer to how such and such sent them here as if they have been run around for a while to find the right person. Also, when going through files, they often cut to the two detectives in a now darker office surrounded by files, sleeves rolled, then, they find something. L&O used to also be good about showing a couple of bad tries on the phone, or otherwise implying that there was a lot of fruitless grunt work that just happened before they found a new clue.

Cabot Cove, Maine probably has a higher crime rate than most inner-city ghettos. Between Jessica Fletcher ans Stephen King, Fictional Maine must be the least-safe place on the planet.

That helps them make a quick information passoff.

  1. Partners walk up, talking about a theory of the crime, possibly including what they’re looking for here.

  2. Person enters or turns around. Could be a citizen, an expert (doctor, coroner, etc.), another cop, or the suspect.

  3. Person drops their information, including one unexpected tidbit.

  4. Person turns and leaves immediately, or goes back to work so that

  5. The partners can resume their conversation about the crime, which now includes how this tidbit might fit in and what they need to check on next.

  6. The partners leave to go check on this next thing.

Quips and comments on the human condition can be added at any point.