The real crime is repetition

Is the number of crime ficition books and TV detective shows getting out of hand?
Is the number of crime ficition books and TV detective shows getting out of hand?

We have all fallen victim to a crime wave.

The number of police procedural novels and television dramas is spiralling out of control. It seems that every month another predictably hard-bitten, plays-by-his-own-rules detective is churned out to satisfy the seemingly insatiable appetite among the public for crime fiction.

We’ve admired the chilly-grey familiarity of ‘Tartan Noir’ books; sweated over the complex plots of CSI: Miami-style shows; and collectively shrugged when ITV once again tries - and fails - to provide an adequate replacement for David Jason’s DI Frost.

No murder is too gruesome and no crime motive too ridiculous. As long as the rozzer in question can be considered a maverick - the kind of person who is likely to ignore their boss and wear the same outfit for three days - we’re all happy.

We’ll, I’m not. It’s all become so achingly predictable.

I propose a ten-year ban on the production of dramas starring detectives. Surely it’s time to try something else?

Because, let’s face it, most modern cop shows and books are still desperately mining a few exhausted seams.

Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry set the bar for uncompromising tough guys determined to get results.

William McIllvanney’s Laidlaw broke the mould as being more conflicted philosopher than polisman.

Both of those characters are more than 30 years old. They are not the only original detectives to appear in that time. You’ll have your own suggestions.

Stick to them. Lock up the rest.