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Life and other detective shows

The Arch-Fiend

I see decay.
Local time
Today 6:13 AM
Jun 23, 2017
I am everywhere.
I recently started watching Life which I was introduced to through the show Blue Bloods (which isn't very good). It's the best detective show I've seen with really good acting. Every personality is really interesting and I think Crews is an ENTP. What do you think?
I used to watch Monk a lot. It's still one of my favorite shows but I think Life is better made. What do you think of it?
Do you watch a lot of detective shows? I do but I'm very picky about them. And I can't imagine enjoying anything more than being a detective. Do you think these shows are realistic?
I also recently started Sherlock which is good but not like the books much.
Sorry for the unorganizedness of this post. Post any thoughts on these shows or others.


guud languager
Local time
Today 8:13 AM
Sep 25, 2008
I had started watching Mindhunter on Netflix when it came out (season 1) in the fall, then got sidetracked after the first two episodes. One of the executive producers (and director of almost half the season) is film director David Fincher and the show possesses his sensibilities visually/tonally, and is based on the early years of the FBI behavior unit development. The two leads are somewhat based on profilers John Douglas (who is fairly well known after putting out a bunch of books over the last twenty years about criminal cases he has worked on, plus being the model for Crawford in Harris' Hannibal books) and Robert Ressler, two out of the 4-5 most prominent profilers who got the concepts off the ground.

I had always perceived them as being a kind of N vs S thing just from reading their books / watching how they approach casework, and the show ironically highlights this even if it doesn't use MBTI language. Holden Ford (played by Jonathan Groff -- yes, the singer and stage/TV star) is the Douglas counterpart and his approach is more academic and conceptual in nature, one of his big problems is detaching too much from cases (as if they were academic exercises), and he also adapts his approach to individual criminals (something Douglas did) to earn their trust but sometimes this crosses the boundaries of respectability/professionalism in the eyes of other law enforcement. Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) is the grittier, earthier streetwise everyman kind of blue-collar investigator, a big hulking guy who knows how the system works and tries to play it, whereas Ford tends to do what he wants without regard for how the game is played.

Once I got back into it, I blew through the last eight episodes in a few days. It just became more mesmerizing. They do differentiate the various criminals pretty well (compare Kemper to Brudos and some of the others presented). But it's interesting to see what law enforcement might have been like at the time, and how this kind of approach had to prove its value + worked its way into the public lexicon. The phrase "serial killer" is a throwaway part of the public vernacular nowadays but these guys had to look at all their data and come up with terminology that felt accurate and it was all unexplored ground at least professionally at the time. It's also interesting to see the huge dilemma between (1) information gathering and (2) the pursuit of justice, since criminals aren't going to want to provide information if they realize everything being learned is being used to punish themselves and others. The show is best when the two principals and others involved in the on-the-ground effort to get things moving are getting into heated arguments over the reason their effort exists at all.

It's pretty clear the opening vignettes are tracking Dennis Rader (BTK), who wasn't caught during his original years of killing and was finally brought in about 20 years later due to being taunted by police and with his pride leading to his eventual capture. One prominent criminal in Season 1 is Ed Kemper, who wasn't as well known as much of the high-profile criminals but is kind of interesting... the guy playing him on the show seems to perfectly capture him, he might be the best portrayal on the series so far. I think Kemper's IQ is tested somewhere in the 125-130 range, which is higher than most of these guys. He killed a number of coeds before realizing he wanted to kill his mom (this is back in the late 60's / /early 70's?) so then he killed her, then called the police and turned himself in and has been in jail ever since. Besides the spot-on personality style, the show also captures his intelligence level in normal interaction styles while also showing his emotional immaturity when he is a bit stressed, his attempts at low-key manipulation that you'd expect from a kid, etc. He's the kind of guy who, if he wasn't a serial killer, you might run into working in the small-town local fire department or some other kind of local service, from his personality style and how much detail he knows of things.

I don't know if this comment will provoke a bigger discussion here, but I've heard a lot in the last decade or more about not casting het actors in gay or trans roles, how it's appropriate to cast gay or trans people. Well, here Jonathan Groff is an openly gay man cast as a straight man (so it's kind of case in point from the opposite direction). He has a girlfriend in the show, and they have an active sex life which is somewhat explored on screen. I don't think it's me, but there is no sexual chemistry there at all. Like, he's saying and doing things that couples do but I just don't really sense any actual connection/interest there. I guess I should watch a show where he's a gay man in a relationship to see if he's any better (as maybe it's just the character of Holden who is naturally detached?), but here it kind of jerks me out of the immersion experience.
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