Wednesday, May 03, 2006

King of the Cops

The problem with learning about human society from TV is that the messages are quite often contradictory. Let’s examine the question of what good police work is. According to Lieutenant Columbo, it involves wearing a dirty raincoat, asking annoying questions and pretending to be a clot. This lulls the suspect into a false sense of security until – bingo! – he makes a careless remark that gives the game away. I used to find this pretty convincing until I noticed that lawyers never seem to get in Columbo’s way. Is this realistic in a country where members of the legal profession vastly outnumber racoons and coyotes? I then realised that the absence of lawyers is a contrivance to prevent exchanges like this from occurring:

Columbo (scratching his head like a baboon):
If you’ll excuse me, Mr Mellon, there’s something I have a problem with. Why would you borrow your housekeeper’s apron if you were dressing up as the Queen of Sheba?

Lawyer: Mr Mellon, I’d advise you not to answer that question in accordance with your constitutional rights.

Mr Mellon:
I’m so sorry, Lieutenant, there’s a really straightforward answer to your question but I have to take my lawyer’s advice. We can talk about other things if you want. I know a great place to get that raincoat of yours cleaned for five bucks.

This is why the Colombo approach would never work in real life. The dishevelled detective would have no good strategy for a suspect who stone-walled all his questions using a lawyer as a moderator. Colombo thinks he’s incredibly devious, but his whole approach depends on the one-to-one interrogation. Being continually interrupted by a lawyer would throw him off his stride and starve him of vital data. He’d never make another arrest.

So having written off Columbo, I considered the merits of Starsky and Hutch, who could hardly be more different. Their approach to police work involves driving too fast, roughing people up and trying to outdo Huggy Bear in jive-ass ghetto talk. They never seem to bother about clues or fingerprints: it’s all about getting to where the action is and arresting the villains with as much violence as they can get away with. Catching people in the act is the name of the game.

There is no doubt that this method of policing would be highly effective. Instead of waiting for a crime to occur before investigating it, turn up while the offence is in progress and nab the hoods red-handed. Dirty Harry takes the concept to its logical conclusion by shooting the suspects as well, saving the city of San Francisco a fortune in paperwork, legal costs and prison expenses.

But unfortunately it’s all too good to be true. Experts have calculated that the odds of a crime being interrupted by a policeman are one in seven-thousand. And even when it happens, it’s damned difficult, in the heat of the moment, for the police to differentiate between the crook, the victim and the innocent bystander. It must be admitted that criminals are crafty devils who wear identical clothes to the law-abiding public, making it very tempting for the confused policeman to shoot everyone in sight when confronted with a suspicious incident.

My conclusion is that the best policeman is not strictly a policeman at all. I commend Mr Jim Rockford, who has all the guile of Columbo without the foolish pretence that a crime can be solved simply by nagging the suspect. Rockford has no aversion to lawyers, retaining a moderately attractive blonde woman as his own, and is not too proud to get help in furthering his investigations. Dennis Becker (the police officer) and Angel (the nincompoop) are frequently invited to contribute to his projects and share in the glory of his achievements. It seems to me that these are the most important qualities in a law enforcer: the ability to work with all types of people and overcome your natural distaste for lawyers. Never trust a policeman whose best friend is his weapon.

I leave you with Mr Rockford’s
theme music.

How come only the American cops get a mention, GB? What about Inspector Morse or Taggart for the Jocks. Bodie and Doyle are the ones I recall from my youth. What a comedy duo they were.
Don't forget Inspector Frost! Who can forget his Christmas classic with the chandelier? Classic stuff...
Pah, only Morse does it for me, he was grouchy, listend to Opera and despaired of the youth of today, he could be me- except with out the tits and with snowy hair. No wait, Nero Wolfe does it for me too, he as grouchy, well read and despaired of the youth of today.
and also had tits

Jason King, got to be. A true man's man. Hard as nails but fair with it.
If I didn't know you better, Dr Maroon, I'd accuse you of dropping a man's name without being properly acquainted with him. Jason King was most definitely a ladies' man who once cuddled a young Felicity Kendall. Perhaps you are confusing him with Inspector Regan of The Sweeney
Inspector Morse was the finest, most sexy fictional detective in history. A bold statement PCB? What is your evidence? (I asked myself)

Some of the appeal was the theme music by Barrington Pheloung. Some of it was the dreaming spires setting and the innumerable times a crossword clue helped flick the switch in Morse's brain. Some of it was the regular "stick it to 'em" to the gowns from the town and the fact that Morse had a foot in both camp.

But most of it was how he oozed masculinity in some way. I don't know how, but it was very sexy, whatever it was: leather, real ale, cars, music and fallibility. He wasn't perfect and I know women who fancied Lewis more, but for me, it will be forever Morse, first name Endeavour.

My mother fancied Bergerac. Bergerac!
YES YES YES. When I began to read this post I thought to myself "Columbo? Columbo? That silly ape's writing about detectives using Columbo as an example? What about Jim Rockford...(then)Ohhh..."

Peter Falk does some pretty alright paintings of naked chicks, though.
Has anyone else noticed that wherever Angela Landsbury went, someone was killed? Murder, She Committed more like...
And FMC, where would Nero Wolf be without that thug Archie Goodwin? Certainly not at the shop getting his own bloody beer, that's for sure!
I agree with you Sam, Morse was really sexy, all brimming with melancholy and repressed desire. And I don't even fancy old codgers usually!
Don't mention old codgers.

"Lewis!" and "just Morse" were his favourite phrases. Lewis was stupid and out his depth in Oxford because he was working class. Morse was clever.
Jason King could've beat the shit out the two of them in his tight 3 piece suite* and platforms and still lit his ciggy (Dunhill 120's) with the other hand. Magic.

* that's right, suite.
Interesting that the first thing you mention about Morse is his theme music, Sam. I didn't realise having a good tune played while you're working makes you sexy. Van ver Valk (remember him?) must have been irresistible to women.

And Emma, you say: "And I don't even fancy old codgers usually!" A man who can impregnate a woman is never an old codger. Ask Sam.
Al right, Dr Maroon, you've proved you've seen him, but I still don't think you know him very well.
Oh I lovd Archie, JK, see, got the dames, see, no schmoo was Archie, gadfly, beat it sister. Why I oughta bop you one, see. Now scram.
None of them match the great hercule poirot for sex appeal. Watching that man wax his moustache gives me goose pimples.
You are talking garbage when it comes to your comments on Columbo.

At first its supposed to be entertainment/fiction cop show and not to be taken literally.

But seeing as you have, here goes.

Throughout his time as telly cop, Columbo demomstrated everytime that he was clever, cunning & devious where need be.

He was really quite capable of understanding the law and was more than a match for any smart arsed lawyer that would have crossed his path after the arrest of a culprit.

Even he had lost a case to some clever technicality from a defense lawyer in court, i really don't think he would have cared too much, because he would have the satisfaction of knowing that he had done the best he could to bring that tv villian to justice, also he would have had the knowledge he was really right all along about the culprit and for a cop like Columbo, who is always deemed by everyone else he works with at the LAPD as slow & dim witted, it still would have looked good on him and his police career, despite losong the court case, his colleagues in the police dept would be understanding and sympathetic.

Also something else you have seemed to have forgotten is that Columbo was a very methodical man, he had a keen eye of detail, had probably worked out of LAPD for a number of years before we met him on screen, don't you think he would have had plenty of experience in dealing with lawyers and would not have pursued a case of a suspect, if he didn't think he was going to get it to court or a possibility of a conviction.

Come on get a grip son.

However I do agree to some extent your comments on Rockford, which I am also a fan of.

From Ace Fan of TV Detective dramas from the UK/USA.
You have to remember a lot of the murder suspects in Columbo thought they were clever enough to answer Columbo's questions without a lawyer present because they always severly underestimated him because of his unassuming manner & appearence.

They never felt threatened by him.

So why would they want a lawyer?

By the time they felt they needed one it was too late and he'd got them bang to rights and so no clever lawyer could argue them out of the situation they were in.

Also he was a great listner and observer of his suspect.

He was easy to talk to and he had a clever way of putting them off their guard when they would make a serious slip up that would break them in the end.

And the types of suspects that Columbo dealt with were high class, they felt the need to come clean in the end, to ease their conscience in most of his cases, they actually admired him for his persistence and guile. They somehow felt the need to confess to him, which was because of his persona.

No lawyer would be able to come up with a strong enough defense case for a Columbo suspect unless they themselves were crooked.

In which case Columbo would have arrested them too :O)

And you can't compare Columbo with Rockford (although i am a fan of both) they are both totally different shows and different men. Columbo was a cop and Rockford was an ex-con.

Having said all that Columbo is just entertainment and not to be taken so seriously.

Anyway Ironside is King of the Tv Cops.

Raymond Burr played a great defense lawyer called Perry Mason.

So Ironside would have had the knowledge of both prosecuting and defending, from a previous incarnation.

His show was also years ahead of his time by featuring a diabled cop, a black man, a women detective when this was still sexism around and also featured a wonderful time of American history.

With flower power, Vietnam, sexuality (there are actually gay characters that have featured in Ironside albeit suttle compared with today, Raymond Burr himself was gay and so am I)and the stories were about human emotion as well as crime.

Ironside for me will always be King of the Cops.

From Frank Cannon (another great cop)
You are talking garbage when it comes to your comments on Columbo. At first its supposed to be entertainment/fiction cop show and not to be taken literally.

Priceless. And who says the art of irony is dead?
In this world irony is never dead Mr Lieutenant Colobus, that is something that happens in the real world.

I find it ironic that you have taken the trouble to reply about something thats fictional.

If you had bothered to read my article from the start, you would have noted that author of this blog on this website was the one taking something literally that was fictional, but if he/she was going to then it was important to point out a few facts to them about the character Columbo.

Something I do know about having watched every epsiode.

My points regarding the fictional character as portrayed by Peter Falk were accurate, if to be taken seriously in the real world.

Does it really matter anyhow, isn't irony itself for you to post a reply on this website about this topic.

From Get a grip son.
you would have noted that author of this blog on this website was the one taking something literally that was fictional

Are you really such a fucking moron? This whole blog is fictional, written by a supposed "gorilla". You were taking this post literally, as if it the gorilla were making a serious point about Columbus, when all he was doing was trying to get a few laughs. In other words, you were doing exactly the same thing that you incorrectly thought the gorilla was doing. Get a sense of humour, mate. Then try getting a life.
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