As I said in yesterday’s post, all of these pet peeves come from real cops, most of them friends of mine. I realized the other day though that there has to be one caveat as you read this. Some of these pet peeves have to be used in fiction simply because real life police work can be pretty darn boring at times. That said, at least you will be a better educated writer if you know the “real” way police work is done.
Okay, Police Pet Peeve #2
TV cops always get the bad guy to confess
While it does allow television cop shows to wrap up the case in an hour and it helps writers “prove” their bad guy did the crime, confessions happen in real life only part of the time. As a writer, our job is to write so well that the detective can prove their case without having to rely on a confession, just like a real live cop has to do.
Try this for an exercise: If you have wrapped up your mystery by having the bad guy confess, get rid of the confession and see if your detective would have solved the crime without it. If he can’t, then you haven’t done your job as a story teller. Prove the guilt without the confession, and you’ve done some real police work.