I don’t want to say my wife and I watch too much television because really, we don’t. But one thing the advent of the TV on demand era has given us is the option to watch the shows we want to see, when want to see them, with minimal commercials. Even when it comes to services like Hulu, we cheat a bit – we’ll wait a whole season just so we can do a marathon weekend rather than go week to week. Some couples might go to the movies or go dancing (and if you are one of these couples, please, how do you find babysitters, and what are the rates?), but my wife and I, we watch crime procedurals. Its this love affair with crime shows that made us realize that when you set the bizarre, gruesome (and in the case of the English crime dramas, often devient) crimes aside, when you look past the charismatic or aberrant mind solving the crimes, there is always one quirk you can count on: the role of the medical examiner.
This is what I realized this while watching Midsomer Murders with my wife last night, and together we were able to come up with a quick list of examples. In fact, following Quincy, these are the ones we could think of in just a few minutes:
- John Ballard – Midsomer Murder’s own forensic pathologist, always a source of witticisms and interesting insights while pouring over a dead body, he was actually what started us on the path of making this list.
- Woody the Coroner on Psych. Awesome crazy. Sure, the show is a comic drama anyway, but Woody is just one step past out there.
- Lanie Parish – On Castle, she is the non Beckett/Castle source of entertainment in the autoposy room
- CSI – the obvious answer, this show began with our love affair with the forensic investigation, and then gives us someone like Dr. Al Robbins to be our M.E.. Of course, the practice in the Miami spin off to deliver a “witty” (your wits may vary) one liner over each dead body was a deal breaker for me, but tastes obviously vary.
- Bones – Lest we forget, Temperence Brennan certainly qualifies.
- Not to be left out, NCIS has Ducky, with his affectations and personality.
- Walter Bishop – ok, so the show isn’t a crime procedural…or is it? We have (had, sorry, spoiler) an FBI agent and an eccentric doctor figuring things out. (I threw this one in there all on my own). And there’s nothing like a good Walter bit, especially if red vines are involved.
Look over that list and tell me – no matter how straight laced, stoic the show, isn’t it the medical examiner that gives us that counter balance of entertainment? And the truly sad thing is that I realize this is just skimming the surface of what should be listed.