Saturday, July 18, 2009

Done to death . . .

I think it's time to put one (okay really two) specific tension raising device to rest. I think it all started with Dirty Harry (at least for me).

It's the cop whose boss issues him/her an ultimatum that he needs to straighten up his act or he's gonna find himself back on some lowly rookie beat. The other one is the fact that every cop finds himself and his/her partner in a battle with a rival duo in the department. (many times this rival is associated with the bad guys.)

These are done so many times that I'd bet if you took a poll, most Americans would believe this is as common in law enforcement as the stereotypical donuts.

I think this has been so infused in the American psyche that authors throw this in their novels subconsciously.

I know, I know, if you read my manuscript I'm sure you could find some similar device I've used that you could say the same thing for. That's okay. Remember, it's far easier to criticize others. : )

So, is it just me?

8 comments:

Nicole said...

Yeah, it's just you, Dayle. ;P Kidding, okay?

I haven't read any stories lately like you described, but the rebel Dirty Harry type is used fairly often in television and cinema.

Fess up: what novels?

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

I didn't write that post very well. It's not the character that bothers me. I love Dirty Harry and Axel Foley. But they and a thousand other characters all have the police chief yelling at them and threatening to fire them for one more indiscretion

Nicole said...

I know. It's the Cowboy Cop mode, and it's used often, I would agree.

Do you watch the series of TV movies with Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone? He's the small town Sheriff who gets fired by the town Council in this last episode for basically being a cowboy but really, as with most of these characters, just carrying out justice. I think the Jesse Stone flicks (adapted from novels)are an interesting mix of this type of character/story.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

I'm actually a big fan of Tom. He never comes across as arrogant or condescending. In fact he's the antithesis of that type.

I saw the first Jesse Stone and liked it, but I don't think I've seen any of the others. I'd like to.

Trivia nugget: He was the first choice for the role of Indiana Jones but the Magnum PI people wouldn't let him do it.

Nicole said...

Magnum PI is one of my all-time favorite shows. But then I love Bellisario's work (JAG, NCIS). Tom's perfect in the role. There were two more after the first one, Dayle, and there's another one to come so far.

Kay Day said...

I never watched Dirty Harry, but I don't have to to know what you're talking about.
I don't read police novels, either, but I can see that it would become a stereotype cliche thing.

So, I suggest you start reading romance novels. They are never cliche.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

I'll make a deal with you, Kay. I'll read a romance novel if you watch a Dirty Har....nevermind. I can't do it.

Actually the romance cliches have affected my life. When some find out I'm trying to get a novel published, they ask if Fabio's gonna be on the cover.

Kay Day said...

I'd rather watch Dirty Harry than read any more romances.