Murder mystery shows just aren’t what they used to be. Long gone are the days when you have a murder committed, and it is solved by a mildly-disheveled Columbo, or the eccentric French detective Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Poirot.
Oh that’s right, Poirot is Belgian, not French. Sorry. But you get the point: nowadays murder mysteries are all over the place with their detectives. In Monk, the detective is obsessive compulsive. Psyche has a con man as a detective, and he claims to be psychic when he is merely very observant. Then there is CSI, in which is a murder is solved mostly by using physics and chemistry. Bones has a detective who has Asperger Syndrome. Sometimes Doc Martin solves mysteries in his medical practice – and he is a doctor who hates the sight of blood!
Such a growing field of sleuths deserves yet another entrant. And here is my idea: the politically correct detective. The idea is that political correctness, or “diversity,” or “inclusion,” or whatever you want to call it, would guide the thinking of the detective to such an extent that major turns in the plot of the show would hinge on the detective’s idea of what is right, inclusive, encouraging of diversity, whatever.
“Ridiculous,” you say? “It will never fly!” Have you read the news lately? Political correctness has injected itself into many otherwise normal national conversations. Recently, an MSNBC commentator suggested that the US should not support Israel over Hamas terrorists because a poll showed that minorities and people of color are less supportive of Israel. And just last week, some developers of an iPhone app called “Sketchfactor” are being called racist because their app guides users out of bad neighborhoods, which might also be minority neighborhoods. I could go on.
Political correctness is out there, and it distorts the thinking of a lot of people in many different situations. So, in the words of Teresa Heinz Kerry, our almost-First Lady from 2004, take your thoughts of this idea being ridiculous, and “shove it!”
My PC Detective show would open with a garden variety murder. The details really don’t matter. Our protagonist would be a university sociology professor who is hired as a consultant by the local police to solve the crime.
A police liaison would approach the professor at the end of one of his class lectures, and the policeman would hear the final comment or two from the professor to the students. The professor would be heard echoing some worn-out liberal platitudes (“…so this demonstrates how Tea Party members are a bunch of racists,” or “… so the findings of this latest study show conclusively that Republicans as a whole have smaller skull-size and therefore lower IQ’s”). Then the professor dismisses the class and reminds the students to read the next week’s homework assignment. Then the police officer meets with the professor and updates him on the facts of the murder.
Throughout the various twists and turns of the investigation, the detective/professor would find clues and either conclude that the murderer was a white male heterosexual Christian, or if any other possibilities exist, the detective would caution himself and the police against “profiling.”
At some point a lower-level police officer – maybe an intern — would stumble across some definitive clue that clearly identifies the murderer, at which point the murderer instantly confesses and specifies a motive (that also happens a lot in popular murder mysteries). Then the professor/detective would claim full credit and begin writing an article on the case (showing the importance of publication for academia).
There would be an epilogue, just like in some of the shows of the 1950’s and 60’s, in which the professor/detective talks directly to the audience. If the murderer is a NON-white male heterosexual Christian, the professor/detective blames racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. in society for the murder. If, on the other hand, the murderer IS a white male heterosexual Christian, then the professor blames the murder on the inherent hateful tendencies of this group of people. Obviously the epilogue would be tongue-in-cheek.
Although the ideas for this murder mystery series may be limited, here are some other ingredients to prolong the series:
Other protected groups: environmentalists, Prius or Volt drivers, vegetarians, vegans, union members, guilty white people, college professors, teachers, illegal immigrants, abortion providers, gay marriage supporters, and Elizabeth Warren supporters.
Other non-protected groups: Republicans, Walmart shoppers, cigarette smokers, oil company employees, stay-at-home moms, physicians, rich people, people who work on Wall Street, gun-owners, football fans, NASCAR fans, global warming skeptics, SUV drivers, abortion protesters, opponents of gay marriage, Rush Limbaugh listeners, and Sarah Palin supporters. Let’s face it, all of these people are barely human anyway, so portraying them as vicious killers would not be a stretch.
There are several readers of my work who have written screenplays or who have had some success in show business. Feel free to use this idea, royalty-free. I could use a “shout out” from the writer every once in a while, but I would probably live if I get ignored. I’m pretty sure this idea will sell in Hollywood. So go for it!