Monday, March 14, 2011

The stayed on the case. Uh-huh.

I've already confessed that I watch shows like Forensic Files because they're a bit of fun, but mostly because I like to hear people speak without a script. Plus I get a real kick out of the language of cops. They lead such insular lives and speak in their own private language. It's fun to hear. But that's not what this post is about.

Today, I want to talk about those intrepid investigators who "didn't give up," who "never forgot the case," and "always kept working" on it, even decades after the murder was committed. Now, I'm sure there really are some investigators who were relentless and finally solved a case through brute force. But that sort of tale is rarely what we see on these shows.

Instead, you hear them say these things about the investigators during the show, but if you keep the little light on in your brain, you'll notice that the investigators usually do nothing. What cracks the case is a phone call from a witness who tells them who did it and where to find the evidence. Or a hit finally comes back from the DNA database. All the cops did was snort, fart and arrest the guy.

I'm so glad these investigators "never gave up." But in most cases this line of talk is a fairy tale. So let's tell the truth at least once: by and large, these guys sat on their fat asses for decades without doing any investigation at all. The answer was dumped in their laps.

Intrepid, bloodhound investigators, my ass.