Monday, January 09, 2017

Detectives and their superiors

We watched the first episode (of two) in the new Maigret series last night. Suffice to say that Rowan Atkinson proved yet again that his long-standing relationship with Mr Bean, or Blackadder doesn't mean that he can't play someone completely different and in a totally different key. He was just wonderful.

But that's not what I wanted to write about. What I would love to see is a police thriller in which the main detective isn't constantly berated by his superior for not being quick enough in solving the crime, and/or spending too much of the department's money and therefore likely to find his funding cut off at a moment's notice - because up above the superior is another superior fussing about something similar.

Not only does it bring a cliche effect to each police thriller you see, it gets harder and harder for the actor blessed with the role of the superior to make anything fresh of it. I'm not sure who the well-known actor in Maigret was who was landed with this particular role; he chose to take the repressed, struggling, man-in-the-middle approach to the part, unlike another recent British series Paranoid in which the three main detectives are continually berated by an almost frenetic superior, played by Neil Stuke, who plainly felt that the lines he was given were so pointless and minimal that he'd go all out.

It would be interesting - if not so dramatic - to see an encouraging superior just once in a while, or one who didn't turn out to be more corrupt than the criminals, or one who didn't close down the investigation before it started, and so on.

Suppose, for a change, the detective in charge of the case worried about the resources and the funding and the fact that it was taking a long time to get a result - while the superior sat upstairs eating biscuits and drinking coffee and saying to the detective: Don't worry, old boy, it'll all come out in the wash. Just wait for the last episode!

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