My wife and I like to watch crime shows on TV. I’m not talking so much about fictional crime shows. I’m talking about shows that focus on actual crimes. In fact, there’s a whole network devoted to those shows. It’s Investigation Discovery or ID for short. We call it “All crime all the time.”
ID has lots of interesting shows. One that’s running right now is “Homicide Hunter” starring retired Colorado Springs detective Joe Kenda. In earlier TV seasons, Kenda, 72, claimed to have solved around 400 murders. Boy, that’s a lot of murders. I’ll have more on that later, however.
Kenda helps narrate the show and an actor plays the younger Kenda as he goes about solving the crimes. That’s the same formula for most of the other ID shows. There’s a narrator plus interviews with some of the actual people who are associated with the crimes. They include family and friends of the victim, police and prosecutors and friends or relatives of the defendants in the case. Sometimes the defendant himself is interviewed. Also, actors portray the events that were part of what happened. It’s a good blend of different elements as the story unfolds.
If you watch these crime shows, you realize there is a certain terminology associated with crime. For example, crimes frequently happen in “broad daylight.” That gets me wondering: If there is broad daylight, can a crime occur in “narrow daylight?” Or just plain “daylight?" I don’t know but it seems like it could.
Once a crime occurs, particularly murder, the suspect frequently vanishes into “thin air.” Now what is thin air anyway? Is that the kind of air they have in Colorado, say in Boulder or Denver or Colorado Springs? No wonder Kenda solved those 400 murders. I guess a lot of murderers must have fled to Colorado only to be caught there later. I can see it now -- a detective in Milwaukee is talking to his boss. “So you want me to go to Denver and track down the Jones’ murderer? You know he vanished into thin air.”
Do any murderers vanish into “thick air?” If I commit a murder, I think I will try to escape into thick air, because apparently no one would be looking for me there. Say, what about fog? Is that “thick air?" Is that what Jack the Ripper vanished into in London in the 1880s? No wonder he got away with murder.
One thing criminals frequently do is “lawyer up.” I even had a police chief tell me that once. He said a murder suspect had “lawyered up.” How come they never “lawyer down?” Or just plain “lawyer?" I don’t know. If O.J. had had to drop his dream team of lawyers and had gone with a public defender, would he have “lawyered down?” I think so.
When criminals are convicted, they can be sent “to the big house.” If criminals are merely in the county jail are they in the “little house?” I think they might be. Murderers frequently end up on “death row.” If there is only one murderer and one cell, is there still a row? I don’t know.
We are told that many murders are committed “in cold blood.” However, they are never committed in “hot blood” or even “warm blood.” I wonder why not. We do hear about crimes of “passion.” Are there any crimes of “dispassion?” I wonder.
When it comes to these murder mysteries, it seems that many of the victims are women, particularly vivacious, outgoing young women. They are extraverts. They all “light up the room.” I guess they must draw attention to themselves from potential murderers.
Also we hear that people are victims of “foul play.” Is there such a thing as being a victim of “fair play?” Is that what the Bears are when they lose a game?
Sometimes we hear that the victim was “brutally murdered.” Is anyone ever “gently murdered?” I’ve never heard of it.
Finally, we frequently are told that the victims “didn’t deserve that.” No kidding. Sherlock Holmes is not needed for that insight. I’m not sure too many people deserve to be murdered. Yes, they probably didn’t deserve to be shot, stabbed, strangled, poisoned or beaten to death. They probably didn’t deserve, in some cases, to have their bodies dumped in the woods or a river while their loved ones waited for days, weeks, months or even years to find out what happened to them. I don’t think they deserved that. Of course, that could just be me. I think I’ve been warped by “all crime all the time.” Maybe I need to watch more HGTV.
Correspondent Dan Moeller is a retired newspaper reporter and editor who resides in Freeport. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.