There is nothing I love more than a good mystery. However, there is one TV trope that you can find in literally any story about a female detective, and it turns me off immediately.
In every TV drama, when introducing a girl detective character, screenwriters all across Hollywood have determined that the best way to demonstrate just how savvy and observant this detective is, is to do something like this:
INT. A WHISKEY BAR
Our heroine, the girl detective sits at a bar (because she drinks, folks. Not just sangria. The hard stuff). The handsome man who is about to underestimate her looks her up and down.
So, what’s a girl like you doing in a place like this? I’m a businessman from New York City! (or something)
Judging by the tan line on your ring finger, you’ve recently stopped wearing a wedding band, your coat is attempting to look designer, but it’s actually from TJ Maxx with fake Chanel buttons sewn on, and your briefcase is clearly filled with chocolate bars.
Why??? Why do they do this? In the world of storytelling, is this the only way to get this point across that this is an intelligent woman who works in the criminal justice industry??? I hate it.
At the same time, if I could make such intelligent guesses, I’d probably flaunt it too.
So what are your strengths?
So, John. Based on the oatmeal stain on your shirt, I can tell you eat breakfast in the car, meaning that you have no reason to eat breakfast at home. Recently divorced? Also, your hair has clearly not been cut in two months, money problems?
The continuation of this annoying trope is when it’s maintained while the detective is solving a crime. Once, on an episode of Criminal Minds, the FBI crew was at a suspect’s house, opened the fridge, and said something like, “he cuts all of his sandwiches in half diagonally, a sign of obsession. We’ve got our guy.”
Based on a sandwich??? It’s one thing to pull this shit when you’re trying to intimidate a stranger in a bar, but not while doing the actual job that you’re paid to do. Don’t my tax dollars pay FBI salaries (or something)? This is how false imprisonment happens.