Philosophy over firearms?
Cop shows are a guilty pleasure of mine. Doesn’t matter what decade or country they’re from, if there’s a mystery to be solved by a smarter than the rest detective, I’m on board. However there is something I’ve noticed lately, something that bothers me greatly and leads to shouting “oh just shoot him!” at the television on a regular basis.
Hollywood is anti-gun, I think that’s a point we can all agree on. In real life the collective mass despises the 2nd Amendment and believe that the common man should not have access to weapons (discounting of course the people that they pay to guard them with loaded guns). In movies and TV shows the gun is a necessary evil for the sake of the story. In this day and age we are supposed to believe that the only thing needed is talking and clever negotiation from which we figure out that the criminal was bullied or brain washed.
In the 90s shows that I remember quite fondly, there was rarely hesitation before you saw the glint of steel. If there was a criminal to be pursued Walker drew his weapon (granted he usually put his gun away and handed out an old fashioned ass kicking), Nash Bridges and Joe ran from the Cuda and reached for their holsters. If you were a bad guy there was a gun on you when a cop chased you down. Now there are still some shows where this stands (NCIS, Blue Bloods, The Closer), but it seems like we’ve got a lot of talk and little action. Law and Order SVU is one example that leaps to mind. At some point in their 15 seasons, shooting the villain became a taboo. What Mike Logan once did is no longer considered acceptable in this realm.
After binge watching the BBC show Luther last night my annoyance for this point grew. Not only do we now have TV cops who are almost under duress if they have to pull a weapon, but we’ve got idiots en masse . There was a two-episode arc that included video game obsessed boys wielding hammers and squirt guns full of acid in crowded places and the only thing the public seemed capable of was standing there. Even as the boy knelt down in full view of everyone and began to present his arsenal, no one thought “hey, that looks strange, I should run.” The general public is portrayed as being just as helpless as the characters with names.
The hero of the story has essentially become a wuss, shackled by political correctness and the writer’s personal qualms with society. We no longer have a leading figure that is willing to do whatever it takes. We have gentle giants with psychoanalytical minds who are going to talk through any problem, hit someone if they must provided they feel quite bad about it afterwards. And I don’t mind that, I can live with that, if you’ve got a well-written script you don’t need a lot of gunplay. Also, given the realism in shows now I don’t want an hour of Luther filling out paperwork because he shot someone. But on occasion, when there is an especially horrific bad guy, you just want some Dirty Harry style justice. Instead of Dirty Harry we’ve got PC Pete, a real life incarnation of the anti-gun argument: You don’t need a gun if you’ve got a detective who reads philosophy.