|Throughout the decades, TV executives have scratched their brains trying to think of far fetched scenarios in which crimes can be solved. Here are some of the best...|
|10. The A Team (1983)|
|Less concerned with the legal side of bringing criminals to justice, the members of the A Team are more interested in humiliating their victims by setting up elaborate ruses to fool them, and then delivering just the right degree of violence appropriate for a young audience.
The opening credit sequence would have us believe that the A-Team are fugitives from justice, outlaws living breakneck lifestyles, travelling from town to town to help others and make the world a better place, for a nominal fee.
However it is entirely apparent from their enthusiasm for dressing up and play acting that they are simply out of work (and not very talented) actors, trying to make a buck.
Hannibal in particular likes to disguise himself unnecessarily, and about as well as Jeremy Beadle, but much like Hugh Jackman's tormented character in The Prestige, he can't bear it if he doesn't get the credit for it, so he invariably removes his disguise in front of the very people it was intended to deceive, often before he's even demonstrated why he was wearing it in the first place, if there even was a reason.
Hannibal's best unnecessary-disguise incident to date whas when he pretended to be a robot to meet a new client. When he removed his disguise (nearly seconds later) he explained that it was necessary for security reasons. He took it off before they'd even asked her any questions. What?!
|9. Columbo (1971)|
|A glorification of man's descent into old age and senility, Columbo is one of the few TV detectives on this list who actually spends most of his time doing what he is paid to do. The unorthodox detective is apparently despised by his fellow police workers, who have no respect for his methods and abilities, even though he always gets his man. Presumeably this is because he dresses like a tramp, clearly never goes home, and keeps a hard boiled egg in his pocket.
With evident small-man syndrome, Columbo likes to big himself up by claiming links with experts of every kind, so for example if he is talking to a carpet salesman, he will inevitably summon some carpet-dealing relative, whose expertise he has cleverly absorbed by association. I assume the reason that no one ever cries out "You're making this up" is because it's best not to upset people who are as unstable or'confused' as Columbo apparently is.
|8. Magnum PI (1980)|
|Magnum is a happy soul, he lives on the vast Hawaii estate (Robin's Nest) of his mystery benefactor Robin Masters (ahem, I wonder how he pays rent?) and looks after the security therein. He is also a hot private eye with a sweet set of wheels and a moustache.
He has group of friends (T.C. and Rick) that assist him in his crime solving ventures and the man who actually runs the estate goes by the name of Higgins and despises Magnum and all he stands for, but why?
The way I see it is that Magnum is an ex-navy seal drifter who probably was one day walking along the beach in Hawaii in cut off denim hot pants when he was spotted by Robin Masters and taken in to "look after the security". Within a few weeks he is given all the Hawaiian shirts and access to all the ferraris he can handle.
Now Higgins must be a bit upset about this, after all all he gets is 2 dogs and a judo outfit and he actaully runs the place.
Magnum's clientelle mostly consists of 1980s damsels in distress who always end up sleeping with him apparently by way of payment, but does he deserve such a fee?
All Magnum does is drive around speaking in his squeeky way, and usually stumbles over the solution or has one of his friends sort it out. There is usally not a great deal of actual detecting going on here, mainly sun bathing or scoring with chicks, leaving poor Higgins practicing his Judo on the front lawn.
|7. Ironside (1967)|
|Chief Ironside is a wheelchair-bound bastard whose long suffering employees are as a rule a bunch of simpering stereotypes, as is nearly everyone else who appears in the programme, which does its best to make the activities of three morons and an angry man on wheels more exciting with its melodromatic sound track, a sinister orchestration accentuating almost every comment anyone makes. "What am I going to do, roll on you?" duh duh duuuuuhhhh....
Nearly every case is in some way linked to the personal life of one of the four main characters who I think I have mentioned are all morons or bastards.
I would be amazed if anyone has actually ever enjoyed this programme on its merits, which are none.
|6. Murder She Wrote (1984)|
|Jessica Fletcher is a meddlesome ratbag. She is also a sucessful murder mystery novelist, hence, "Murder she Wrote."
One cant help but feel a more apt title for this programme would be, "Poking my nose in, I wrote."
Invite Jessica Fletcher to stay with you at your peril. Before you can offer to take her coat, the chances are your next door neighbour will have been strangled by his rival at work on your patio. It will then be only a matter of time before old trunky shoves her oar in and wont shut the fuck up, once again proving that in Amatuer Detective World, leaving murder investigations to the police is unheard of, unless nepotism allows you to control your local cop because you are his dad.
Where ever this woman choses to lay her hat, some poor bastard either gets murdered or turns to murder. She is surely Death himself taking a holiday in the real world - what better disguise than the voice of a tea pot in a Disney film? Friendly and loveable yes, but a real ball breaker when it comes to interrogation, or should I say, pain in the arse nosey old cow.
|5. Petrocelli (1974)|
|Anthony Petrocelli is the only nose-poking crime detector on this list who lives in his car.
A truly rubbish lawyer, Petrocelli rarely even gets paid for his work, which to be fair, he doesn't spend much time doing, since he's usually busy chatting hot chicks (who inexplicably find him irrisistable) and drinking root beer.
Unconventionally, Petrocelli's law firm (operated by himself and his ridiculous wife) tends only to accept cases from no hopers who've either been framed, have no money, or both.
In the best episodes, Petrocelli will indulge in a low budget car chase, drink some root beer, and then confidently reveal the true perpetrator at the end of the episode before a judge, who will invariably dispense with all the usual inconvenient formalities of listening to the prosecutors or heeding the opinion of a jury, and throw the case out of court. One is left to assume that the new accusee is thrown into jail without trial, and left to rot. Justice is done.
|4. Hawaii Five-O (1968)|
|Hawaii, the very name of the place strikes fear into you doesnt it?
No, me neither.
That's why the idea of setting a cop show in Hawaii is obstensivly a shit one.
I can imagine the network meeting, new cop show needed, new holiday show needed, "Hey, what about a cop show set in Hawaii??"
Jack Lord plays Steve McGarrett, a man seemingly with the world on his shoulders. A more miserable sod you will never meet. He saunters around like he is locking up crack dealers on the east side of Brooklyn, never mind that he is in one of the nicest places on Earth, no, he looks like he would rather be in bed all the time and takes his doughnuts and coffee with a side of Prozac.
His immortal line, "Book 'em Danno" is about as interesting as he gets. I find myself in most episodes hoping the bad guys get away just to see if it slumps McGarett deeper into depression and by the end of the season has sucked his car tailpipe in the police garage.
Book that holiday now Danno!
|3. Diagnosis Murder (1992)|
|An outlet for the talents of the Van Dyke family, Diagnosis murder is based on the totally implausible concept of a crime fighting doctor, his idiot doctor friends and his corrupt cop son.
Among questions raised by this scenario, the most pressing must surely be "how is that idiot a doctor?". The question could probably be asked of any of them, but I am particularly referring to the young blonde male doctor who turned up at around the time Chachi left, and who has trouble grasping even the most basic of ideas. His name is Jesse, and he is a total one. He was brought in for comedy relief, and it seems to be he spend the tenure of his appointment relieving himself all over the plot.
Barry Van Dyke shines in this ensemble cast, like a turd in the rough. Surprisingly he hasn't done a lot of work since Diagnosis Murder finished, despite the fact that he is credited with writing six of the one hundred and seventy-eight (lord help us) episodes.
The programme was still being made up to 2001, which truly beggars belief.
|2. Knight Rider (1982)|
|Michael Knight is unlike many on our list in that he really has the best of intentions. He is one man trying to make a difference. However it isn't incompetence that holds him back, or his many enemies, no, he has a talking car which is the equivilant of a nagging wife injected with nagotron 3.0.
That car's name is KITT (or "Knight Industries Two Thousand" to you) and although on the outside it seems like a sleek, super-fast crime killing machine, on the inside it has a Geography teacher living in the computer, who is as willing to take chances and kick arse as Mel Gibson is to open a synagogue. This car has a voice and character so dull that it would much prefer it if you didnt do anthing thank you Michael, in fact, let's not catch up with those drug dealers, lets go to a wooded owl sanctuary and listen to my new Kenny G CD.
Although it should be noted that Michael isnt the sharpest tool in the box, whenever he does come out with any kind of idea or suggestion KITT has to get his two penneth in, which, from what is effectively just a bleeding car, is a bit bloody rich.
I blame Michael though, he clearly hasnt taken the time to lay ground rules and explain to KITT that he is merely a car, not a disaproving Uncle with a complex about "free spirits".
KITT is the kind of car that would have run over hippies in the sixties and backed over feminists. I am sure, given the choice, KITT would rather be driving a philosopher or maths teacher about town, rather than a sex machine in tight jeans who fights crime.
It's a bit like Dirty Harry's new partner being Mr. Bronson from Grange Hill, although that sounds great to be fair.
Years later it became apparant to all (including the head of FLAG, Devon) that Michael was in fact imagining the voice of the car, and was on the rocky road to a long depression brought on by his tight jeans and perm.
|1. Quincy (1976)|
|Douglas Adams introduced the concept of the SEP (Somebody Else's Problem), the power of which, if harnessed, can render ojbects virtually invisible to the human eye. The TV programme Quincy brings us the new concept of the SEB - Somebody Else's Business. Apparently irrisistible, the SEB has Quincy running all over town solving crimes which are at best tenuously linked to his line of work, while corpses pile up in the morgue, apparently unattended.
Despite having it brought to his attention in nearly every episode by his long suffering employers, Quincy clearly fails to appreciate the fact that there are whole buildings full of people whose job it is to investigate criminal activity, while Quincy's own job description is presumeably more focussed on scientifically ascertaining the cause of death of people who are dead.
Jack Klugman's Quincy is a curmugeony old man with a penchant for the ladies, which he can apparently afford on his government salary (don't try and tell me he's not paying them, especially that one in the opening credits who he gets to pose as a dead body, the pervert). He is a bumbling fool who seems to know very little about 'forensic medicine', while his underling Sam does all the work and supplies all the ideas, with little or no hope of promotion, or being given any of the credit.
My favourite episode is the one where Quincy infiltrates the punk music scene in order to prevent a murder. The realistic depiction of all working class young people as murderous drug addicts full of hate was contrasted beautifully with the realistic depiction of a righteous and morally superior coroner doing some field work (while corpses pile up in the morgue, apparently unattended).
The best bit in Quincy is the hilarious joke in the bar at the end of most of the eposodes, culminating in an awesome freeze frame of the cast all trying to look like they're laughing, while corpses pile up in the morgue, apparently unattended.
|Comments about This Article|
|Jason: Englighten me...|
Comment By: Dermot, 12 Jan 2010, Rating: 4/5
|you have clearly missed the point of columbo. |
Comment By: jason, 08 Jan 2010, Rating: 0/5
|This website is the funniest, ever in the world of the internets (even when they were just used to remind the generals in the US Army that nukes were on their way to their town/city/hole.|
Comment By: Voice of reason, 14 Dec 2009, Rating: 5/5
|Lest we forget (and believe me, I've tried):
-Hardcastle & McCormick:
Brian Keith stars as supremo activist judge Milton C. Hardcastle. Perfectly happy to skirt the law, he blackmails former defendant Daniel Hugh Kelly into becoming point-man for his harassment campaign aimed at anyone who ever walked out of his courtroom on a technicality.
The plot: Kelly must get in his shiny sportscar and drive incredibly fast and as recklessly as possible somewhere, anywhere, for some reason. Keith dispenses disapprobation but looks the other way when broken traffic laws lead inextricably to air-tight cases against the bad guys who this time are left on the doorstep of the criminal justice system where even the weak-kneed, nuttering-naybob-of-negativity lawyers can't keep his judge friends from hanging the bastards.
Comment By: afterthought, 16 Nov 2008, Rating: 5/5
|scooby doo is great|
Comment By: plop, 21 Oct 2008, Rating: 5/5
|I think you should remove Jessica Fletcher from this list. The show was great, The episodes set in her home town of Cabbot Cove were often like Scooby Doo mysteries. Seth is a great supporting character in those episodes, plus watching Jessica often gave me a semi.|
Comment By: Seth's Ghost, 08 Jul 2008, Rating: 5/5
|In fact Crazy like a fox was neither crazy or fox like. The only truth in the title was 'a'. Having fox in the title should suggest an element of cunning. This was not the case.|
Comment By: lego indiana jones, 07 Jul 2008, Rating: 5/5
|Thank-you for not including 1984's, 'Crazy like a fox'. Which in my opinion was not a detective show but in fact a mish mash of random ramblings by a bloke who claims his name was Harry Fox; a little too co-incidental if you ask me, which nobody is!|
Comment By: lego indiana jones, 07 Jul 2008, Rating: 5/5