Monday, April 14, 2014

1317 Murder Mystery Cranks

Just once, can they make one of those cheap TV murder mysteries about a nasty victim?

Think about it.  Every time you turn on one of the nosebleed level channels, there’s a true crime story on.

Wives with Knives, Dark Minds, Evil Twins.  All of those on Investigation Discovery.  Over on WEtv, there’s Law & Order and CSI Miami which are fictional according to various disclaimers.  Of course, if you look hard, you often can find matching real crimes.

On USA Network, there’s Burn Notice, Psych, an assortment of CSI originals and spinoffs (spins-off?)  and a few repeats of Law & Order Criminal Intent and Special Victims Unit.

Also “not” based on real events (wink, wink.)

But whether real or fictional, there’s an obligatory scene or two or ten in which a victim is described as:

--always friendly and helpful.
--having a smile for everyone.
--lighting up the room.
--a good neighbor.
--a pillar of the community.
--a devout churchgoer.
--a devoted parent.
--the devoted caregiver for an elderly parent.
--the (man) (woman) you always went to for advice.
--a great listener.
--an honest, hard working (business owner, worker,) who always (showed up on time,) (could always be relied on for good [merchandise] [service.])

Who are these people?  Ever meet any of them?  

In death, they all become magical figures.

Once.  Just once, let them make a murder mystery about someone who

--always looked shifty-eyed.
--had strange visitors.
--acted like a (druggy) (drunk) (hotrodder) (hoodlum.)

Or who

--chased dogs off his lawn.
--abandoned his or her (spouse) (children) (cat.)
--owed everyone money.
--never returned the snowshovel.
--never had a good word for anyone.
--played loud music in the middle of the night.
--held parties on school nights.
--was a (left wing) (right wing) extremist.

All the victims are saintly?  C’mon!

Real crime happens to anyone.  But those who have their stories televised even posthumously -- especially posthumously -- are all Goodie Two Shoes or Twinkle Toes or the person you hope to meet on a dating site.

Maybe this is too extreme a wish.  Okay, here’s a compromise:

How about a story about a murder that happens to a completely ordinary human being.  Someone who is

--waves hello but doesn’t bother much with you.
--returns your lawnmower.
--never has parties.
--has a humdrum job.
--pays his child support.
--goes to church or synagogue or mosque on important holidays but doesn’t speak Latin or Hebrew or Arabic.
--owes a little money which he or she pays off regularly, but has no outrageous outstanding payables.
--drives an eight year old Chevrolet sedan and fixes the muffler when it breaks.

Death in the boring lane!  It’s a winner.


--Turns out the guy they say shot and killed those people at the Kansas Jewish center and old folks home was a member of the Klan and a white supremacist. When they do HIS life story on Lifetime or I.D. they’ll at least have a nasty waste of flesh to talk about.  But you can be sure that the victims will all be painted as described above.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to

© WJR 2014

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