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Friday, March 7, 2008

Why do Psychiatrists Like Detectives

Dalziel and Pascoe
Since recent Dalziel and Pascoe is my favorite detective series.

Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel is more caveman than new man -- a cigarette-puffing, beer-swigging detective with a large gut, a foul mouth and a scowl that seems carved into his face. With his thick Yorkshire accent and his abrasive demeanor. (from NYT)

I have watched dectectives for ever. I can even remember I Spy and Miami Vice. But I got really interested with Morse. He didn't conform to the TV stereotype of policemen. He was middle aged, out of condition, single, intellectual, loved classical music and real ale.

Inspector Morse

To me the attraction is about the detectives them selfs. Always professional, unorthodox in their methods but good at their job. Struggling against new logo's, rules and regulations lay down upon them by their organizations. Yes the same struggle doctors have as well these days.

Besides idealization and identification with the detectives there are some analogies between detective fiction and clinical method. Clinicians or psychiatrists use observation, they need an ability in deduction, logical thinking and an ability to spot inconsistencies to solve a case or the symptoms of a patient.

Clinical reasoning is comparable to detective fiction. The interview is both for detectives and psychiatrists a vital investigative tool.In detectives psychological and social circumstances play an important role as well as in psychiatry.

A Touch of Frost

After Morse I got addicted to A Touch of Frost and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. With Silent Witness in 1996, the BBC created a pathologist-led detective team with Amanda Burton. I didn't like that series so much, she was to much self-defeating.

In around 2000 big T.V. companies like CBS made shows that focussed on crime/science, that then became known as "forensic and crime shows". Their unique selling point was the use of computer generated graphics to show, not tell, the science and show the seemingly impossible detail of what happens to humans in murders. This kind of series soon lost my interest. To unreal, to technical and boring in the end. You now have a couple of them all using the same formula.

Besides the good and bad guy scenarios in detective series you can put yourself in their place and associate yourself with a character in the series. Curiosity is another important characteristic of detectives as well as doctors. Solving the puzzle with various hints together with the detective is what attracts.

Which detectives do you like and why?


Aqua said...

I absolutely love SOME detective and police shows. I love the Jane Tenneson character in "Prime Suspect" and I could not get enough of the american series "Homicide: Life on the Street". The first few shows I thought it was so-so and then I completely became lost in the characters and the series was so well done. I would have to say I am completely obssessed with all the Law and Order series: Law and Order, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and especially Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I love the Detective Goran character in the C.I. one...he's a bit off, but madly brilliant. I like that. Come to think of it Jane Tenneson has a out of control/control freak madness about her too. I am a lot like that so I can really relate to her.

Dr. Shock said...

I am glad I am not living in Canada. You have a lot of detectives I haven't even heard of. Wouldn't have time left for blogging ;)
Law and order does sound familiar.

Michiel said...

Midsommer Murders... a nice countryside murder mystery.

Confabula said...

I’m kind of in love with the Danziel, Morse, Frost-vice. Their tempers, their struggles. Considering Insp. Lynley, I especially like Barbara Haver’s spirits. I agree on your Silent Witness opinion - and when Burton left, the series started to look like the other multiple CSI-xxx series. I don’t have interests or patience in watching them.
I also like ‘Prime Suspect’ (H. Mirren) and ‘New Tricks’, ‘Taggart’ and ‘Lewis’- though he’s less unorthodox & humorous than Morse. It’s sad the BBC isn’t very keen on making new series. Any other tips for me?

Merelyme said...

I had always like good 'ol Columbo myself. I liked how he was always so darn modest and let others be driven by ego while he was all the while solving the case. Very fine blog you have here and I will visit often.

ECGreetje said...

Don't forget this one;

I like Midsummer murders and Frost.
CSI, all that kind of american detectives, it's to much. Also the fast way of filming makes me wild!
Please give me something from the UK on screen!

Dr. Shock said...

Completely agree with the British preference. They usually have better scripts as well.