The other day on the train my friends and I talked about this week's episode of "Castle," in which a mystery writer and homicide detective team up to solve the murder of the week.
"Kill the Messenger," (clever title, eh?) begins with an erstwhile bike messenger in really nice duds and a brand new Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 bag crazily riding against traffic. A guy in a black car whacks the poor messenger. You know it's a murder because (a) the driver is wearing a mask; (b) the driver steals the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 bag from the messenger's body; and (c) the homicide detectives shows up!
This is a completely unbelievable scenario, of course. Any competent criminal knows the easiest way to kill somebody without risk of investigation is to run him over with a car. The silly mask looks a little suspicious, but I doubt anybody would have noticed the bad guy pilfering the bag.
Compare to a recent episode of Psych, in which a daily bike commuter is apparently run over by a car.
In "High Top Fade Out" the police dismiss the crime as a vehicular hit and run and everybody assumes the driver will never be found. The diligence of the victim's close friends, however, uncovers evidence of foul play!
Which do you think is more believable and realistic? The Castle scenario in which the homicide cops immediately jump on the case and investigate a murder? Or the Psych story in which the cyclist is just a poor schmuck who got in the way of a car, and the police ignore the death because they consider investigating "accidents" as a superfluous waste of their time?
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That was an awesome catch on the juxtaposition between these scenarios.
Clearly the second case is more likely. It happens all the time. The first case is a "perfect world" scenario.