Some cliches can be fun. It’s fine that the bimbo in the horror movie is going to die with her top off. It’s alright that bombs have big blinking LEDs and ample time to be defused. Whatever, some of this stuff just happens and we accept. At least for awhile. But there is one repeat offender that I’ve come across just a few too many times now.
I watch quite a few things that involve cops. It might be Law & Order or Special Victims Unit or something on the funnier side, like Castle or Psych. Either way, on the small screen or the big, we all are exposed to a bunch of entertainment where cops or good guys shake down the bad guys. No one can accuse our bad guys of being brilliant, but they all fall for the same god damn thing. The hero takes a shot in the dark. An educated guess. He has the bad guy isolated, no lawyer. He doesn’t even accuse him, he just makes a statement. He a theory, stated as fact. But how did the hero know, who told him, the villain asks. OH BOY. Isn’t his face red once the hero tells him the who let him in on it. You did. Just now. HAHA GOTCHA. You just got pwned, homie.
Why are bad guys always falling for this? It’s not just hoodrats or dumb thugs either. Guys who have meticulously planned every aspect of their crime and left behind no discernible evidence are tricked by the third grader’s equivalent of clever word play. “I already know that you were at the hotel late last night, alone, when you said you were at the restaurant.” That’s all it takes to crumble the world’s toughest defense. Telling someone you know the truth. That crumbles their house of cards.
So we accept our villains aren’t brilliant, what’s up with these detectives? That’s all they got? A hunch and a played out statement? Where is the real detective work, the gathering of evidence? Nah. Instead of doing all that grunt stuff on the streets digging through witnesses, you can just tell the bad guy you already know he did it. Then he’ll tell you. Just now.
I don’t know. It’s just one of those things that is everywhere. It didn’t used to bother me, but now every time I hear it I get irked. It always happens the same way too. The suspect is either on his way out of interrogation or even about to leave the precinct. Then the detective lays his or her cards on the table. The bad guy spills. Line. Smirk. Arrested. Come on. This used to be cool. Hell, in the sixth grade I probably walked around trying to pull this exact line on everyone in Social Studies class. But we’ve grown up a bit and you’re going to have to do better, Hollywood Writers. This cliche is now so well known and over used, it should only be executed with a wink and nod to the audience. It’s now not a serious crime fighting tool. How do I know it’s no longer effective? Because I went past my boiling point. Just now.