“Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.”
-Thomas Berger

So, I watched Blue Bloods, a new show that aired on CBS this past week. Okay, so that’s not entirely true — I watched some of Blue Bloods. I should preface this review with: since I didn’t finish watching the episode, I don’t know if it gained back its credibility or not. But partway into the episode, I turned it off simply because I thought it was a waste of my time if I wasn’t going to enjoy it.

Let me paint the picture… A little girl was kidnapped. The detectives found a doll (about the size of a Cabbage Patch Kid, I guess) at the scene. The parents of the little girl said they had never seen it before, so the detectives conclude the kidnappers probably lured the girl using this doll. They run the doll for prints. They found none.  Perfectly fine up until then.

Since there was no prints or evidence of any kind on the doll, it’s assumed that the kidnappers used gloves. Also, very fine, very plausible. Very smart of the kidnappers.

The detectives do some digging on the doll and trace down the manufacturer to find out where the doll can be bought and whatnot, and they discover that it’s a prototype and only a few people have access to it.

Are you kidding me? I can overlook the dumb move of the kidnapper leaving the doll behind in the first place. So be it. But how in the world is the kidnapper smart enough to use gloves when dealing with the doll, yet idiotic enough to use a doll that hasn’t even hit the market?

It’s ridiculous and it didn’t sit right with me. Too many advancements in the plot are sometimes made at the expense of the characterization that was originally shown to us. Even CSI can sometimes be accused of finding that right evidence at the right time in a really coincidental way, but the criminals in that show aren’t really elevated to be smart. And that show has something else going for it: main characters I’ve come to care about (Blue Bloods’ characters didn’t really make me sympathize with them; they gave me no reason to stick around).

But why have a bad guy be smart in one scene and then completely drop the ball a couple of scenes later? That’s something to learn from right there. I’ve had to catch myself in my fiction sometimes. You want a certain action to happen, so you think it’s okay to bend a person’s character (or make them have a convenient “lapse of intelligence”). Does it progress the plot? Yes. Do you get to your desired result? Yes. Do the detectives solve the case? Probably. But do you really want to get all of those things by dumbing down the characters and hoping  your readers (or viewers, as it were) just accept the idiocy?

Again, please note: This review comes from a viewer who did not finish watching the episode, so please forgive me if my review doesn’t stand true by episode’s end. 🙂