Monday, 5 September 2016

Thangs that drive Crime Writers CRAAAAZY

I’m a crime writer.  Hell, I’ll put on my other hat (the one with the pointy top) and say it.  I’m even a fantasy writer (my corvette reminds me every day, as those are the books that bought it.)


So I know about suspension of disbelief.   I’m willing to admit that as an audience, we might agree to ‘suspend belief’ for a little while.


But enough is enough.  Television, you go too far.   CSI Hoboken, or wherever you are, take note.  Here are some things that drive otherwise fairly normal crime writers (oxymoron alert) crazy:


1.  Crime scene people in high heels and raw cleavage.

Of all the !@#$%^&* things that television distorts, this is the one that bugs us the most.  Ever been on a crime scene?  Ever been in a LAB?

For six years, I was Director of Marketing for the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science.  I’ve been in a friggin’ lab or two.  Take it from me: it ain’t a place for fuck-me shoes and long loose hair.  You want my DNA messing with your crime results?

Network producers, stop treating us like ignorant adolescents who need to be sexually charged every single moment.  Stop.  Just stop.  It’s insulting.

2.   Gunshot victims who give their last speech and then die, Kerplunk.

Full disclosure:  I was also a hospital director.  People who get hit with a bullet to the heart die, kerplunk.  They aren’t hanging around to give their last words.  People who get hit in the gut may take many hours to die.  It’s not a pretty sight.  Take it from me.  They usually aren’t thinking sentimental thoughts.

3.  Where’s the blood spatter?

 If you stab someone while they are still living and breathing, there is going to be blood spatter.  Usually, that spatter will go all over the stabber.  So sorry, producers: your bad guy is not going to walk away immaculate from a crime scene in which he just offed somebody with a stiletto.  You won’t need Lassie to find him in a crowd, believe me.

 4.  Villains who do their ‘Fat Lady Sings’ pontification.

Why does every villain in boob-tube-town delay killing the good guy so he can tell the soon-to-be-dead schmuck his life story?  I mean, the schmuck is going to be offed in two minutes, right?  You’re going to plug him.  So why is it important that he know why you hate your mother and the universe in general? 

Someday, I am going to write a book/script where one guy gets cornered and before he can say a word, this happens:

<INT.  A dark warehouse or some other cliché. >


The smoking gun fell to my side as Snidely dropped to the floor. 

“Dudley!” gasped Nell.  “You didn’t give him a chance to explain!”

I yawned.  “Bor-ing.  All these villains go to the same school.  You heard one, you’ve heard them all.”

“Isn’t that against the law?” said Nell, stomping her little foot. “Don’t you have to let the bad guy have his final scene?”


The smoking gun fell to my side as Nell dropped to the floor.


  1. OMG YES! The other one that ticks me off is police officers who know better dropping their guns because the bad guy tells them to.

    However, I do allow a little leniency for speechifying in the right circumstances. To whit:

    “Something Vimes had learned as a young guard drifted up from memory. If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat.

    They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar.

    So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.”

    Yes. I quoted Pratchett again.

    1. Grin. Super quote. Pratchett was one in a billion.

  2. Great stuff, Mel! Even in British crime drama (I think often better than North American) I've seen crime scenes with techs gussied up in bunny suits, and here come the detectives, plod, plod, all over the place in their Street Shoes!! Argghh! Love your blog!

  3. You're so right. It's the heels that always get me. They're in everything. The power that be think they're being staid by putting the heroine in a pants suit and boots, but the boots still have minimum 3-inch heels and she has to run full tilt down the street to escape the bomb/catch the killer/get home for little Timmy's birthday. Male filmmakers seem to think that women are the opposite of Achilles: all their power is in their heels.