Cop shows on TV get repetitive about chases

Published 10:21 am Monday, June 2, 2014

Something About Nothing  by Julie Seedorf

My character, Granny, in my books is an amateur sleuth. When she hooks a crook or skewers a scoundrel she sneaks up on them and stops them in their tracks.

She doesn’t stop in the middle of the grocery aisle or the restaurant and say “Halt, you scoundrel,” and then call him by name. No, she doesn’t give him an inkling that she is after him. The way she catches crooks is my perception of the way it should be done.

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I am a great fan of many crime shows on TV. I watch them all. This obsession I have with these shows caught me by surprise. A few years ago I didn’t even know the names of these shows and then one summer when I spent time on the couch recovering from an illness, I discovered these gruesome and gory shows. I cannot figure out what changed in my body during the illness that made me not cringe at some of the gore in some of these shows.

However, there is one thing that I laugh at all the time, and possibly at times, shout at the screen because of it. I do this because of the way a crook is apprehended at least once during every show. The good guys are looking for the bad guy. They find him loading freight at the company he works for. He is working his job with no clue the good guys are watching him from a not far distance but not close enough to grab him. The good guys pull out their badge, hold it in front of them, yell the bad guy’s name and the chase is on.

You know, if you didn’t yell the guy’s name you could have walked up to him and slapped the cuffs on.

Another scenario: The doctor is at the desk in the hallway of the hospital talking to the nurse, the doctor is suspected of a crime. The elevator door opens — the good guys walk out of the elevator — the doctor looks down the hallway and sees the good guys walk out of the elevator. The doctor has no idea who the good guys are, they could be visiting other patients until — from down the long hallway  — the good guys spy the doctor, pull out their badge and yell, “Police!” At which time the doctor takes off the other direction to get away.

I understand that this is possibly good television and a good plot, but I do get tired of wondering if real police do this when they are going to apprehend a suspect. After all, there are no TV cameras rolling to record the chase scene.

I always lift my eyes and think that the writers could come up with some better way to let the suspect know they were there.

For instance, they could start doing cartwheels down the hospital corridor until they stopped by the doctor and flipped the handcuffs on him. It would be different, unusual and funny. The other detective could cartwheel all the way by and accidently end up on the balcony having cartwheeled over the edge but having grabbed the edge to hold on until the other cops could rescue him.

Recently, I was in a community across from the fire station. The fire truck took off out of the station lights flashing, but there was no siren. People in the small community had no idea the fire truck was out. I asked the person next to me what had happened to the siren.

They explained that the fire trucks in their community never used sirens unless it was absolutely necessary. I thought this was a clever way to keep onlookers from following the fire trucks. They were not warned that an emergency was underway.

This brings me to the subject of police calls in television action shows.

The perpetrator is holding someone hostage in an apartment. The police have been called. The perpetrator does not know this until he hears the sirens blaring away. The burglar quietly is rummaging through the unoccupied house at night. Someone has called the police. The entire squad answers the call, siren’s blaring. The burglar, alerted by the sirens, slips out the back door. In the case of the hostage, the situation gets more tense because he hears the sirens. Come on, guys, sneak up on him and surprise him. Save the hostage.

Again, I do not know if real police calls happen this way. I only find it interesting that those who protect on cop shows always have to chase their bad guy because they inform the bad guy they are there before they are close enough to apprehend him or her, should they run. I always love the line that sometimes comes out of the mouth of the detectives, “Tell me you’re really not gonna do this,” when the bad guy starts running and the detective has to give chase.

I guess that is why the shows are so fascinating. The shows are fiction. The stories are fiction. At least I hope they are. We have bad things happening in our society but I hope they are not all as bad and as sick as some of the things that are portrayed in the shows. I also hope that those viewing them know the difference between fantasy and reality.

I can’t explain why I like these shows. Perhaps it is the people that play the parts in these shows. I particularly like Kirsten Vangsness, Shemar Moore from “Criminal Minds” and Pauley Perrette from “NCIS.” I probably would quit watching if they were not on the show. I’m not sure what that means in terms of my being a fan of these shows. Maybe I am more a fan of the people than the show itself.

I will still shake my head at the repetition from the writers of all of these shows when the detectives announce they are there, and the crook takes off and the chase scene begins. Been there, done that, let’s get creative with the chase scene. I think they should talk to Clay Miller from the United South Central High School drama department. I have seen him stage some of the best chase scenes ever. They never get boring or repetitive. He could teach the cop show chase people a thing or two. Don’t you think so, Clay?


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at Her Facebook page is