“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I would like to make up for my recent deplorable absence (I’m blaming one headache and one case of Late-Night Facebooking, respectively) by writing about – wait for it – a Brand New Murder Mystery! *gasp*
By “brand new”, I should point out, I mean “brand new to this blog”, not “brand new ever”, because as far as I can tell Scott and Bailey has been around for a while. Four seasons, to be exact.
Scott and Bailey are best friend detectives who work in the same police office land and solve crimes (surprisingly). In this particular episode, they’re investigating the decades-old murder of a woman whose body, preserved from decay by the hi-tech method of chest freezing, has just been found in a gravel pit. The original investigation was, as Bailey remarks succinctly, “shit”. Unfortunately, it was conducted by the father of one of her team, which means there is Tension (especially as Bailey has recently been promoted to Sergeant). It’s like New Tricks but in every way better and more convincing.
For a start, Scott and Bailey is very…procedure-based. It actually kind of reminds me of The Bill in that respect: there’s a lot of focus on work done in the station rather than on the more traditional Murder Mystery fare of talking to suspects and trying to trip them up using only a rapier wit and ze leetle grey cells. Scary Team Leader Woman Gill (who is maddeningly familiar as the Mad Career Scientist Woman from The Hounds of Baskerville) holds meetings with her colleagues. She discusses strategy, delegates tasks, crowdsources solutions. All of this happens onscreen: it sounds dull, but it’s actually refreshingly realistic. This feels a lot more police-y, somehow, than any of the work which UCOS does. People write interview plans and drink tea outside and discuss cases in the bathrooms. There’s almost no focus on the suspects, and the team works together to get a result. It’s far more egalitarian than a lot of Murder Mysteries, with their master-apprentice type vibe. (Lewis, I’m looking at you, I’m afraid.)
In the interests of complete fairness, it’s not as intricately plotted as Lewis, and Scott and Bailey as characters have little of the charisma that marks out most of the great heroes of Murder Mystery-land. But perhaps this is the point. They’re not heroes, and they’re not necessarily geniuses; they’re professional women who are good at their job, and good at working with other people. Perhaps we need more fictional characters like that.