**SPOILER ALERT – Do not read if you haven’t watched these two shows yet**
When it comes to reading, or writing, police procedurals, I like to keep things real. Yes, I want to be entertained, but not to the point that it gets me rolling my eyes and thinking ‘really?’
It’s fair to say that I love Luther. I’ve always said it’s crazy – realistically unrealistic. But hey, he’s nice to the eye, the show is dark and moody and with Alice in the background, I could forgive a few poetic license moments.
But series 5, I’m sad to say, tested my boundaries a little too much. It became the Luther and Alice show and as much as I enjoy watching their relationship ‘evolve,’ I don’t want to watch episodes of a man about town (a deadly quiet London to be precise without a soul on any street?!) with his woman doing crazy stuff. I want to watch a detective catching a killer.
Some of the scenes too were so far-fetched to be enjoyable for me. I loved the idea of the serial killing couple and had this stayed at the forefront of this series, I would have been riveted to my seat. And there were some really scary moments. But when Alice turned into a superwoman, well, that turned me off completely.
The last episode was so farcical – Alice shot an officer dead with one bullet (where she got her guns from I will never know) and then missed a man using a machine gun… And poor old Smiley. Murdered, and yet not a one officer in the building asked where he was (or was told what had happened to him) and then his blood cleaned up as if it were a drink of spilled orange juice. No emotion from either character after seeing him shot.
I really wanted to like it, and I know I will watch the next series because let’s face it, Alice won’t be dead, will she…
Which leads me to Man Hunt – the complete opposite of Luther. Here we have a real-life case so I guess there can be no poetic license, but for my money, it showed exactly what happens in a murder investigation team. I enjoyed working things out with the police, being one step ahead of the suspect until he was caught and brought to justice.
I enjoyed going home with the team members and seeing how their job affected their day-to-day lives. I also like the series, Unforgotten, for the same reasons – where I feel I am working a real-life case with the police.
Does this make me a realist? I guess it does. I get that they are both filmed for entertainment. I get that for some people precise procedurals are boring, and let’s face it a lot of time-consuming, mind-numbing jobs that are the most important parts of the investigation can be brushed over and the feel of a show can still be authentic. But I like to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.
Indeed, I don’t write about DCS’s or DI’s because I like working the case alongside my officer. That’s why I write about detective sergeants because mine are hands-on, out there with the people in the community, getting things done. (And even this isn’t true as most detective sergeants manage a team of detective constables and rarely leave their desks.)
What do you think? Should books and TV stay true to life or bend the rules like Luther?