posted by Matt W on January 30th, 2013

For years, I’ve watched a lot of different crime dramas on TV. I pick the guilty person at about a 95% success rate within the first 20 minutes of the show. My kids thought for years I should quit my job and sign on with the local police force as a detective; I am that good. It’s really not that hard if you know the secret. Months ago, while we were watching TV, I told my wife my secret. She still hasn’t forgiven me.

Last night my wife and daughter and I were watching a crime show and about 15 minutes into the show a gardener directs the detectives towards the owners of the house. He was on the screen for all of 5 seconds. “He’s guilty” was my almost silent remark. Ten seconds later my wife angrily said, “Damn it, you’re right Matt W.! You have taken all the fun out of watching this type of show.” My “Language; not appropriate in front of the kids,” was met with amusement by only one of the people sitting next to me on the couch.

Here’s the secret. All shows have a hierarchy of actors. There are the A-list actors who are the regulars on the show, or the occasional superstar that is probably not going to be guilty. There are the C-list actors that you either barely recognize or don’t recognize at all. And then there are the B-list actors, or as I like to refer to them as “the guilty ones.” It never varies. These are the actors that are easily recognizable, but are a little down on their luck, haven’t had a solid role in a show or a movie in a while, or just most often play guilty people on every single crime show. You may not know their names, but you absolutely recognize their faces. I am positive there is a list of guilty people that TV producers just pick from. I need an older, Latino, male guilty person, how about X. This time I need a younger, attractive, white woman. “Oh, that would definitely by Y; she was just guilty on NCIS and did a great job.” I think some shows don’t even feel they need to use dialogue or plot to justify someone as guilty anymore as long as they are one of the guilty actors. “Go ahead and cut those essential lines, he always plays a guilty character, no one will care.”  I’m no longer even challenged. I get up about half way through most shows and go read or more likely just fall asleep.

Why don’t the producer’s try out different actors? While many starving actors are starving… well… because they suck, some C-list actors are probably solid actors that just need a break. Put a few B-list players on the bench, or better yet use them as decoys to trick me into believing they are guilty so I actually have to think again while watching shows. Make the C-list actor guilty!

File Under Mr. Cool