Telly

File:Jim Caviezel in May 2012.jpgVagrant on the Metro. Four lads start to abuse him. So he beats them up.

That scene grabbed my attention. I like the setting up and subversion of expectation. A few weeks later, Person of Interest is one of my guilty pleasures. Two men, outside the law, battle injustice: one of them has lots of money. It is very like Quantum Leap- they find unconnected people in a crisis in their lives, and intervene: one is the action man, the other the adviser. The action man has a sensitive, caring side, though every week there is a fight, men hurling each other into walls, lots of fast blocking of blows which would make most people unconscious. It pretends to be hard, involving international drug dealers and special forces veterans, and is deeply sentimental, turning on the growing relationship between the two men and their care for the people in crisis. They are outside the law, and the law is not always right, but there is a great chasm between Good and Bad, and Good always prevails. There is a fair bit of that set-up/ subvert, which is fashionable atm. I video the serious documentaries and European dramas on BBC4, and watch Person of Interest.

Good Cop is a more thoughtful thriller. Sav, a thoroughly decent police constable in Liverpool, thwarts Noel Finch, when he is about to rape a waitress in a cafe toilet. Finch engineers a call-out which Sav attends with his colleague, and Finch and five others beat the colleague so badly that he dies. For some reason Sav goes back to the crime scene and finds a hidden gun. Finch also goes to the crime scene, and taunts Sav- you don’t have the bollocks to shoot me, so I am going to take that gun off you and stick it up your arse. Sav shoots him, and his world changes.

They achieve different things for me. Person of Interest amuses and entertains for 45 minutes. The crunch, thud stuff is a bit sickening sometimes, but I treat it like a cartoon. It is reassuring to be told that Right prevails- often, it does. Good Cop shows psychopaths in full, pointless viciousness, and the random hatred and anger of various minor characters, and a sympathetic hero who does monstrous things, because he must, in order to survive. It is Tragic. And it tells me what I need to hear, that there are times when there are no rules, and I must do what is in my interests, however threatening that is to my need to see myself as a good person.

Good Cop started with a police officer lured at random to a house, and attacked. After two police officers were lured to a house and murdered last week, the final episode was cancelled. Perhaps this shows respect for the women killed- but the BBC uses violent death as a form of light entertainment every week, there are more murders on the telly than in real life in the UK, and it is a shame to pull such a thoughtful thriller.

What justification is there for the use of murder as entertainment- not just Great Drama probing the heart of the human condition, but conveyor-belt entertainment?

2 thoughts on “Telly

  1. Thoughtful and interesting post, Clare. Of course all of your posts are thoughtful, but I, too, question the use of violence as light entertainment. Some of these stories that you describe feel archetypal in a way. Maybe it’s part of the human psyche from more primitive times and we can learn from these stories.

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    • Thank you. Cathy, you can never compliment me too often for my taste, and if I were to read your comment that this one is thoughtful as a judgment that all the others were thoughtless and boring, I would be beyond hope! 🙂

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