There are scads of law enforcement professionals dedicated to the capture and prosecution of killers because, while we don’t agree on much, people, as a whole, seem to think killing each other is bad. So bad we’ll spend untold sums and devote countless man hours to catch the killer of just one person. We’ve developed technology so advanced and sophisticated, the Law & Order: SVU
team can solve a complex sexual-homicide in just one hour … and that’s with commercials! So with all the interest, resources and gadgetry devoted to catching killers, it only makes sense that some will be caught.
What doesn’t make sense is how easily some of them are caught. To be fair, I’ve never murdered anyone, and I imagine it’s fairly stressful and there are a lot of things to remember. However, never having committed that crime, nor any other where I was sober enough to have been expected to get way with it, I have a pretty good idea of the things that would be on my how not to get caught list. And it isn’t because I’m smarter or more clever than the average criminal – although, I do like to think I’m funnier and would just be a hoot to have as a celly; it’s simply because I watch TV.
Specifically, I watch Investigation Discovery (ID). Or, as I like to call it, The Murder Channel. This basic cable channel currently has fifty-six shows in its line-up, thirty-two of which are specifically about murders and eight that are mostly about murders, and sometimes other “horrific acts of violence.” That’s forty hours a week of murder programming, the watching of which is equivalent to having a full-time job. So killers may not be dumber or less bright than I, but they’re certainly lazier because they’re obviously not taking advantage of the free, in-depth education offered by The Murder Channel.
In almost every episode we’re given insight into the latest advances in investigative techniques, forensics and criminal profiling. Yet time and time again we see killers doing the same things wrong, from leaving fingerprints and DNA strewn about like dirty laundry in a dorm room to not digging holes deep enough. Hello murderer!? Where do you think the term “shallow grave” comes from? It comes from people like you getting caught, Genius!
Speaking of which, despite having visited both the Angeles National Forest and areas of the desert outside Las Vegas, both notorious dumping grounds for dead bodies, I’ve never stumbled across a shallow grave. I don’t know anyone who has. But I’ve been in clothing stores, hundreds of them; and I’ve seen mannequins, thousands of them. And I’d hope that were I ever to discover the bloated and decaying corpse of some unfortunate murder victim, half-hidden under dirt and foliage in the woods, my first reaction, as seems to be that of so many interviewees on murder shows, wouldn’t be, “Why looky there! A mannequin!” But if it were, then I should probably start shopping at different stores.
But I divigate, so back to our subject…
Other common mistakes include killing one’s spouse and not having a good alibi. Everyone knows the husband or wife is always the first suspect; so you can’t claim you were out of town then have surveillance video of you showing up, buying potato chips and beef jerky at the local mini-mart around the time of the crime. If you’re going to try and make your murder look like a suicide, make it plausible. Don’t deliver a shotgun blast to the back of the head then carefully place the weapon in your victim’s hands and walk away whistling innocently, thinking the police won’t know that blowing one’s own brains out from behind the back is an impossible trick shot. And plan ahead! Bring a tarp, duct tape, saw, rope and whatever else you’ll need to dispose of the body along with you. Detectives are always finding Home Depot receipts for such purchases in the perp’s car, time and date stamped for just after the murder. From what I gather watching these shows on ID, killer’s cars are a veritable treasure trove of incriminating receipts. In fact, if you ever get into someone’s car on a first date and start noticing store and ATM receipts tucked into the glove box and door pockets, and poking out from under the seats, run! You’re probably dating a murderer.
Aside from leaving too many clues and/or bodies lying around, perhaps the biggest rookie mistake people make is committing their murder with a partner. Anyone who watches these shows knows that as sure as pedophiles love iced tea and cookies, your killing-cohort will always believe the detective who say you’re “rolling over on him/her in the next room” and will give you up. It’s as old as good-cop/bad-cop and yet it works every time. If you learn nothing else from ID, learn this: work alone and lawyer up.
Oh. And trust no one. Because Investigation Discovery has also taught me that if you’ve ever pondered the question, “I wonder how I’m going to die?,” the answer is probably murder.
Based on The Murder Channel’s programming, everyone will kill you:
- Your family – Behind Mansion Walls, Blood Relatives
- Your spouse – Fatal Vows, Happily Never After
- Your friends – Frenemies
- Your boyfriend/girlfriend – Deadly Affairs, Poisoned Passions
- Your date – Dates From Hell, Fatal Encounters
- Your neighbor – The Nightmare Next Door
- Duos – Wicked Attraction, Evil Twins
- Women – Deadly Women
- Men – Very Bad Men
- Southerners – Southern Fried Homicide, Swamp Murders
- Tourists – Murder In Paradise
- Cultists – Deadly Devotion
- People you’d least expect – Unusual Suspects
Apparently, the only ones who don’t want you dead are babies. And my guess is that’s only because they can’t hold their own heads up yet and aren’t tall enough to stab anyone above the knee-caps. But I’m willing to bet it won’t be long before a couple of dark and troubled toddlers, whose parents just don’t understand them, find each other at a preschool in a small town where “things like this just don’t happen” and we end up watching the most disturbing episode of Wicked Attraction yet.
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Forty hours of murder, and a good time was had by all….well, except for the guy duct-taped up in the tarp. 😦
Every party has a pooper …
Haha, yeah, it is terrible to watch those shows and go like “NO! WHY are you doing that, stupid?!”
That’s one of the reasons i liked Deathnote, it made sense (in the beginning) and the characters worked HARD to find the killer.
In most shows today it’s like the detective sort of stumbles into the clues. I miss the old Sherlock who used logic. Now I saw the trailer for a new Sherlock series where the female lead asks “how do you guess these things” and he says “I don’t guess, I observe.” Really that’s just key words for “Lazy writers”.
And I do think you would make a great celly.
While I live and die for SVU (Mariska Hargitay kinda have a thing, she just doesn’t seem to know it yet), too many of those shows depend on the “quirky detective,” which I also think comes down to lazy writers. All crimes could be solved if cops were blessed with IQs so high they can’t be measured, photographic memory and an encyclopedic knowledge of everything!
I like The First 48, where you see real detectives solving real cases, with hard work, experience and a lot of help from the stupid criminals who make stupid mistakes.
Thanks! I wonder if they let you blog in prison? Cuz I’d call mine The Women of Cell Blog 8.
I agree, those are the best shows. Though stupid criminals do tick me off. I think that’s the reason I don’t watch a lot of crime shows 😛
I would totally read that blog.
In my house, the only networks on the television are Investigation Discovery (ID), or HGTV. It appears that on the ID shows, there are two kinds of murderers, those who watch HGTV, and those who don’t. Those who watch HGTV lead peaceful lives in nice homes; those who don’t watch HGTV live in shacks and watch Nascar and Real Housewives. When there is a murder at the non-HGTV household, all of the neighbors say, when interviewed later, “I always knew it was those nasty people.” When there is a murder at the HGTV household, the neighbors all say “What sweet nice ladies they were.” In the non-HGTV household, the murderer is arrested quickly. In the HGTV household, the murderer is still on the lam, lounging in her mediteranian yatch and skiing in the alps.
The moral of the story: if you want to get away with murder, watch HGTV, (and maybe a little bit of Bravo when Project Runway is on)!
Sooooo, since you’re watching both ID and HGTV are we to assume that one day you’re planning to be lounging on a Mediterranean yacht and skiing in the Alps … and perhaps creating some fabulous ensembles in your spare time?
You are so on to me.
While I am basking in the Mediteranean, I am going to be working on my new show concepts to sell to the ID network. There will be an entire series of new shows which capitalize on American’s latent LGBT prejudices.
Here are some ideas:
I am now seeking funding for my show pilots. Funds may be deposited in my Swiss bank account.
On second thought, I may try selling these shows to the Pat Robertson Network, or maybe even FOX.
If you’re going to talk about television murder capers, there are a couple of young ones still lurking around the “oldie” channels – never trust anyone named “Bam Bam” or “Pebbles” for that matter – they kill me every time! 🙂
Why anyone would give a kid with that kind of strength a club to swing around is beyond me. Then again, Fred and Barney never were all that bright …
It’s funny how back then Wilma & Betty were the real brains in that outfit, and one of them had that diabolical wink to go with it . . . hey, wait a minute! Hmm . . .