rodlox (rodlox) wrote,

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Meta: the paradox(?) of crime-fighting shows

Today, I came across a series description for a tv show that I follow and tend to enjoy...but today's description made me stop and think {and from there, my brain roped in comparisons with other shows}

Disclaimer: I have not yet seen the s2 pilot of Alphas.

The description was Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Leigh Rosen investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able, or willing, to solve.

Now, one can hope that this has not been changed in preparation for season 2; season 1 did indeed have the team running around and "taking the law into their own hands." But if that is indeed a description of season 2...

This is a bizarre statement, even in the first few words: in season 1, half the team was composed of Federal agents: Bill Harken, FBI; Rachel Pizrad, CIA; Dr. Rosen, with familiarity with and access to some pretty high levels of Classified. Even leaving aside Dr. Rosen's treasonous/whistleblowing action of the season 1 finale, the second sentance is a verrrry bad idea: there's a word for people who take the law into their own hands.

And now we come to the meat of the matter: in any given tv series where the heroes are protecting people from the Big Baddies of the particular series, how well do the heroes work as a team with their colleagues, and how often do the heroes go off on their own?

On one hand, you have the classics, like Law & Order, in which the heroes were the cops and the lawyers. While the series focused on one particular cop team and lawyer team at a time, and while none of the characters were very shy about voicing any unease or dissatisfaction with the government or my knowledge, none of them turn vigilante (though a few come close once or twice - I'm looking at you, Logan)

Similarly, there are Inspector Lewis and Inspector Lynley, in which the detectives work (reasonably) well with other investigators and civilians...though they often end up investigating leads and questions while on their own.

On the the other hand, you have The Librarian, which could be considered an extreme example of the hero doing his own thing -- given that he works almost by himself, with only two superiors in the organization, the plot demands he be independent.

On the other hand, you have shows like The Dresden Files, in which the hero is a private investigator who helps the police. But because Dresden's caseload tends to involve magic in one way or another, he has a good reason for ducking the police investigations from time to time, and withholding information -- the High Council would fry him, non-metaphorically.

Primeval in its early years had a similar nature. Granted, the go-your-own-way tendancies of the lead characters tend to pay little heed to either civil authorities or their superiors in the classified organization.

With shows like Dresden Files and Alphas and Primeval, a person could make a case that people like (respectively) Harry Dresden, Lee Rosen, and Nick Cutter are needed to fight the bad guys that the rest of society have no idea exist...for the reason that the normal police have no idea these bad guys exist.

But once the proverbial cat is out of the bag, once society knows about magic, alphas, and anomalies, then their stance grows a bit odder. Why are they still taking the law into their own hands, instead of joining forces with the police?

My brain is demanding sleep now, so I will leave you with a question: is there a connection between the secrecy of the heroes' organization, and how likely the heroes are to go off on their own?
Tags: alphas, discussion, dresden files, inspector lewis, law & order, law and order, meta, primeval, the dresden files, the inspector lynley mysteries, the librarian, thoughts
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