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This small rave/rant will contain spoilers for the first season of the Blacklist and the pilot of Forever. But in short, why do shows with interesting premises seem to focus all their attention on single characters and forget things like logic, procedure, and law?

Now, I like the Blacklist. Specifically, I love James Spader's character, Red. I could watch him be elegantly threatening, suave, darkly funny, or a stone-cold badass any day of the week. He's got interesting friends, a colorful personal history, complex motivations, and hasn't given away everything upfront. He's a very cool character.

However, the short shrift given to FBI procedure and medical realism is utterly jarring. I know the premise is fairly ridiculous, but from watching this show you'd assume the FBI is mostly a bunch of fumbling bunglers who couldn't find their ass with both hands and a map. Obviously, there needs to be a reason for Red to be injected into Elizabeth's life for the purpose of the show (and his own motivations) but it does rather make the agency out to be a bunch of incompetent boobs.

Another thing that really annoyed me was an instance of what could have been a ballsy character change for Donald Wessler (and the show) which the writers of the subsequent episodes turned into a mild inconvenience. The mid-season finale had Red and the wounded-in-the-leg-from-a-shotgun-blast Don locked inside Red's bulletproof cell while bad men tried to get them to come out. In the course of this standoff, Red had to do some crude surgery on Don to keep him from bleeding out, specifically opening up his leg wound with a knife (he'd been shot in the thigh), pouring gunpowder from one of Don's bullets on the wound and igniting it to cauterize the bleeding. Before and after this, there had been some interesting bonding between the two of them.

While the two managed to survive the incident, by all rights Don should have (if he hadn't outright died) either lost the leg or been crippled for life. Assuming crippled (to cut down on special effects for the show), it would have made the "strong right arm" of this FBI unit (aka the guy they have charging into things way too much of the time) had to rely more on his experience and brains, and pushed Elizabeth into more dangerous situations, which might have forced Red's hand on certain things a little sooner.

Instead, Don goes from a very light bandage around his thigh (I laughed so damn hard upon seeing him in his "recovery room") to walking with a cane for an episode or two, to running around like nothing had happened. This was supposed to have taken place over the course of months, not years.

Guys, you could have made an interesting character twist with Don and ended up pushing Elizabeth and Red to work together in all sorts of different situations without backup, possibly with Don providing information from base. Instead you took the easy way out with your magical bandage and still gave Elizabeth an "out" in certain physical situations by having Don Wessler still be available to be the cavalry. Come on guys, you can make your other characters as interesting as Red, and you don't have to make the FBI look like idiots or the doctors look like miracle workers.

--

I also watched the pilot for "Forever," recently. Again, while an interesting premise and main characters, there was some shockingly bad police procedure on show. Ioan Griffaud's character, a NY city medical examiner (who's 200 years old and cannot die for reasons unknown), becomes a suspect in a poisoning case of a subway conductor that led to the deaths of 15 people. While still under suspicion, he was still allowed to work in the NY city morgue, presumably collect his paycheck, and actually conducted more investigation on the conductor's corpse, including collecting evidence for a detective. Conflict of interest, much?

This same detective hauls him along to interview a different suspect in these same crimes, gives him access to the crime scene, and takes him along on a takedown of a suspect.

Seriously? Seriously?

Look, show writers, even Castle made more of an effort to get a civilian up close and personal with police matters, and a made a much better effort to show him being kept out of the line of fire, at least in the early seasons.

All I'm saying, shows, is that you need to spread the wealth of intelligence around some. Don't insult your audience by having one character be so cool that the rest of the show doesn't matter. Use your police/government consultants and listen to their advice, because if me, a civilian with no personal experience with law enforcement at all, can pick holes in your standard operating procedures, then you have serious problems.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
game_byrd
Sep. 24th, 2014 12:05 am (UTC)
So much truth!
jaune_chat
Sep. 24th, 2014 10:37 am (UTC)
They don't even have the excuse of being a comedy series to help me suspend my disbelief. Because Brooklyn 99 can get away with ridiculous shenanigans. These shows really cannot.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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