I watch more than my fair share of crime procedurals. I used to tune into CSI every week, until they started going up against Grey’s Anatomy (why yes, I do have excellent taste in TV, thank-you very much), and I’ve caught a few seasons of CSI: New York. I could never get into CSI: Miami, but mostly because I was convinced every murder was a result of A. Sharks B. Alligators or C. Cocaine. I still watch every episode of Criminal Minds and Bones. I’m probably leaving out a few, the point is, I’ve seen my share of crime scene teasers, which holds the key to my fear of being in them.
They follow a basic premise: An innocent looking scene, some day-player is jogging, or calling after a spooked animal, maybe cleaning up a beach. Sometimes it’s a couple, looking for privacy, or some kids trying their first cigarette. Whatever the reason, these poor unfortunates soon stumble upon a foot, or an arm, maybe even a head. It’s the shock scene that takes us into the jazzy theme song, while I scream and vow to stop watching this stupid show.
The show starts back up with our crime solving detectives/scientists/FBI agents poking the found body parts with gloves, snapping pictures of broken twigs and crime scene markers. We’re all quick to forget the poor guy who just had his morning coffee ruined by the decapitated head.
Now this is where the screenwriters and I differ. I want to talk to the guy who had to deal with that fun discovery. I have so many questions, who do you call? 911? What do you say? Should you make it clear that YOU aren’t involved in the murder, or is that just more suspicious? Do you have to stand guard while you wait for the cops, and if so can you ask them to bring you a soda or a blanket? Are you allowed to phone a friend while you wait? They can’t expect you to just sit there quietly. If you do call someone, who do you pick? Your best friend? Boyfriend? Mom? It’s a very telling choice regarding your current relationships.
These are all legitimate questions I wonder about every show. Scratch that, every day of my life. Why? Because I’m fairly certain that I will one day be that person, and I want to be prepared. When the opportunity to go morning jogging or attending some sort of beach clean-up comes up, one of my first thoughts is “What are the chances I will end up on the news for finding a severed foot?” If it’s above 50%, the answer is no. (If I’m the one doing the math, the chance is always above 50%). I just can’t deal with that in my day, I’m far too stressed out about having to tell someone.
(Yes, I’m thoroughly more concerned about how to start that awkward phone call than the trauma of actually finding a mystery foot). I know I would get very high-pitched, and attempt to sugar coat it for the operator…ending sentences with a question mark, like maybe I’m asking them if there’s a foot under that tarp? I’d also probably end up texting while I was waiting, which I’m sure would eventually get me into trouble.
Now, I know we have too many crime procedurals already, but can we do one, where someone just goes about their day and repeatedly has the bad luck to stumble upon body parts? Maybe they can solve the crime after, or maybe it’ll be a new person every time, a new unknown every episode. At least it’ll keep talent costs down.
I will tune in every week, I will be terrified every time, but you know I would watch, just to have my questions answered, so that when that inevitable day comes I’ll be slightly more prepared, because seriously, that is going to be an awful way to start a Monday.