Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Butler Did It

I know I'm not the first to notice this, but it's kind of remarkable just how much of television drama is at heart, based on mystery stories. The ways in which we and the characters figure out who committed the crime change, but that core of a crime, suspects, and a reveal are at the heart of so many series. I mean, look at the current network lineup:

Cold Case - Cops solve old mysteries (why they can solve them now, and they were unsolvable then, generally goes unexplained)

The Unit - I'm not sure, never having seen it, but I bet there's a mystery aspect.

Medium - Psychic solves mysteries.

Boston Legal - Lawyers solve mysteries (I don't watch BL, but imagine that at least a goodly portion of the cases feature an aspect where we don't know if the defendant did it or not, and the answer gets revealed at the end, after the verdict. That was Kelly's modus operandi on The Practice anyway)

CSI Miami - Genius forensics experts solve crimes using science and a creepy old redhead with a sunglasses removal tic takes all the credit.

House - Genius doctor solves medical mysteries with the help of flunkies (who never actually solve a mystery on their own)

NCIS - Team of investigators solve naval-related mysteries.

The Mentalist - Genius former fraud-psychic solves mysteries by being really observant.

Without a Trace - Investigators solve missing-person mysteries.

Fringe - Super-genius and his son and catatonic FBI handler solve weird, vaguely sci-fiish mysteries.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Dogged cops solve mysteries that often start out marked by some deviant sexual angle that turns out to be naught but a red herring.

Pushing Daisies - A sad sack guy solves endearingly quirky mysteries through magic.

Criminal Minds - A team of FBI profilers solve icky mysteries, but only after the killer has killed people, but before he kills the latest victim.

CSI: NY - Genius forensics experts solve crimes using science and the leadership of a slumming quasi-film-star.

Bones - A genius bone scientist solves crimes with the help of a hunky cop/FBI guy (never seen it)

Life - A cop solves mysteries while eating lots of fruit.

Law & Order - Cops and lawyers solve mysteries, while never cottoning to the fact that it's always the least-likely suspect.

Life on Mars - A modern cop solves standard TV mysteries in the 70s while trying to sole the big mystery of how he time-traveled in the first place.

CSI: Genius forensics experts solve crimes using science and the leadership of a slumming character actor.

Eleventh Hour - FBI guys solves vaguely sci-fiish mysteries.

Supernatural - Hunky brothers solve supernatural mysteries.

Ghost Whisperer - Busty psychic solves mysteries with the help of ghosts.

Numb3ers - Math genius solves mysteries using math.

Until Whenever

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Actually, there's been relatively few cases of guilt/innocence in Boston Legal. Betty White's character always "did it"; the question is how does she get off. There was one episode this season of guilt/innocence with Kyle Secor as the defendant ad it was the best show of the season.,