Don’t TV Writers Use Google?
As some readers may know, I spent four years writing television in Los Angeles — law, cop, and terrorism shows — before becoming an academic. When I wrote scripts, I prided myself on accuracy: although I occasionally took artistic license, I always tried to get the law and facts right as best I could. So it bothers me to no end when television shows use plot devices that even cursory research would indicate are inaccurate. A recent case in point: an episode of White Collar, an enjoyable trifle of a show about a con man who gets captured and has to work with the FBI. The entire episode is built around a cold-blooded killer who pretends to be an Interpol agent in order to extract information from various main characters on the show — all of whom are supposed to be extremely sophisticated about the world of law enforcement. Just one problem…
Interpol, of course, doesn’t have agents. Its job is to facilitate communication and cooperation between various police agencies around the world.
Seriously, this isn’t rocket science. There is even an entire internet page dedicated to cataloging all of the various popular-culture references to Interpol agents. It took me 30 seconds to find using Google.