Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Private Eyes...


So, is there a Hall and Oates song in your head now?

For the past few weeks I’ve been meeting with TV producers and pitching a TV show idea I have about a private eye in Montreal.

The pitch meetings have been going well but all the producers have said the same thing:

Private eye shows aren’t in right now.

Of course, they probably just don’t like my pitch and are being polite, and that’s fine, but they usually then reminisce a little and talk about how much they loved The Rockford Files or Simon and Simon or Mannix or Tenspeed and Brownshoe (a favourite of mine) or Remington Steele or the Spenser TV movies or, well, you get the idea, there have been a lot of private eye shows.

But there aren’t many now.

The producers aren’t sure why, they just feel a private eye show is too much of a risk. When I ask why that might be no one knows, of course, that’s just the way it is.

Now, when they ask me why it’s a private eye show and not a cop show I say, oh well, that’s easy, and give my standard answer to that question: cops are people whose job it is to respond to a crime and to follow the rules and collect evidence that will be admissable in court and lead to a conviction.

Private eyes are trying to find the truth.

So far my answer hasn’t been going over that well, but I’m going to keep trying because I think private eye shows are due for a comeback.



Dana King said...

Agree completely. There are things you can do with PI fiction--written and visual--cops can't do. As I wrote in a blog post several years ago, cops are about closing cases; PIs are about closure.

I read somewhere the issue with PI shows right now is we're in an authoritarian cycle. People aren't into outsiders; they want super government agencies stopping the end of the world. I see this pendulum starting to swing back within a few years as the excesses of government get people to better appreciate the value of working outside the system

John McFetridge said...

Yeah, Dana, there was definitely an interest in "super agencies" (came up a few times in the meetings) but I wonder if it's also corporate sponsor-driven?

No one fears the outlier and outsider like corporate culture. I guess I have more hope for indie publishers and even self-publishing to give us authority-questioning characters.

Brian said...

Last night a new series started, King and Maxwell. They're PIs, but with strong backgrounds with the super agency. In this case Secret Service. From the same folks who do NCIS and NCIS:LA. Plus Rebecca Ronijn is really easy to look at.