When you’ve watched as many brilliant Brit TV detective series as we have, there are certain things you can count on. (We’ll get to the Scandinavians and French and Germans and Russians later.) In the U.K., Detective Chief Inspectors on TV are 60 percent female, and they can barely make it to work because of their family complications and personal problems. But they are 100 percent effective. And fearless and aggressive. Because Female. You know. Prime Suspect. Vera. Happy Valley, Blue Murder, Murder in Suburbia.
The male DCIs are equally effective, just not as acute. They tend to wander, postpone, lollygag, you know, the way of men. Then they watch a teapot boiling and get the epiphany after three or four are already in the morgue. Midsomer Murders, George Gently, Foyle’s War, Grantchester, Broadchurch, and Blaine & Pasco.
What we have learned. The Brits never actually interrogate. They idle by your place of work, ask a few piquant questions, then meander away. The typical Brit police interview room, sans cobwebs:
Then, when after a few days and many more cups of tea they get the idea you’ve been lying they COME BACK TO YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS and threaten to charge you with perverting the course of justice. Which results in the current glut of U.K. prisoners convicted of perverting the course of justice:
After all the idling and meandering and desultory inquiries are done, it usually transpires that a chase is required because too much has been left too long and nobody is carrying a sidearm. Which leads to the final impotent chase and two more innocent victims.
And then a lot of standing around, nihilistic muttering, and closing credits.