There’s a scene that seems to come up a lot in police procedurals. One cop will say something like, “Come on, we got to go,” and they and another cop will walk out of the station. Then there will be a commercial break, and when we come back we see them getting out of their car and the second cop asking, “Okay, what are we doing here?” In the real world, they would have spent ten or twenty minutes in the car driving to this location, and they just listened to the radio instead of talking about what was going on? The reason the scene exists that way is because it is a lot easier and faster – and therefore much cheaper – to just film the actors getting out of a car and continue talking than to either have them drive through a city or green screen it in. Because of the limitations in filming, we allow some unrealistic depictions of reality.
But some shows take it too far. For example, there is a show – which I won’t name – that had such a stupid scene I almost yelled at my TV. Basically, a vigilante beat up a bad guy until he confessed. But the vigilante recorded it all and sent that to the police. Now, I’ve never been to law school, but even I know that if the police were dumb enough to take this coerced confession to trial the defense would wipe the floor with them. Of course in the show that was all that was needed to get this bad guy off the street while I’m almost yelling at the screen, “That’s not how the world works!”
So my tip is that while you can get away with some unrealistic depictions of reality, they should be minor, only for storytelling bits. If you go too far, you’ll have people yelling at the screen or book instead of being sucked into the story.
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