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Why Do Guilty People Always Confess On Tv?

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Hi,

Anyone else noticed in many police drams the guilty party always seems to get tricked into confessing - why don't they just keep their mouth shut, or better yet use their right to have a lawyer?!

It often seems to happen in CSI, but I have been watching the Shield recently which is supposed to be more realistic and it happens there too - is it real in that it shows just how dumb criminals are? They often even trick them by saying we have two witnesses, when they don't - a lawyer would pick this trick up straight away surely - why don't they demand a lawyer before interview?!

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It's basically so the writer can show off. They write some convoluted plot and they need to show how wonderfully brainy their central character or plot device is.

In the real world people would be convicted on small bits of evidence, nothing particularly exciting or interesting. If they can have the characters explain all the different details it makes the writing and ideas seem grander.

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It's basically so the writer can show off. They write some convoluted plot and they need to show how wonderfully brainy their central character or plot device is.

In the real world people would be convicted on small bits of evidence, nothing particularly exciting or interesting. If they can have the characters explain all the different details it makes the writing and ideas seem grander.

Raymond Chandler's central criticism of Agatha Christie, Dororthy Sayers and novelists of their ilk is that the classic detective murder is committed in the most contrived of circumstances but only to provide a body. Who would go to that kind of trouble, and why, given the principal actors are all comfortably middle-class? He observed that the easiest crimes for the boys with their feet up at the station to solve were the ones where the protagonist had tried to get fancy. Too many loose ends, too many plots that only work because of split-second timing. Chandler juxtaposed these locked room mysteries disfavourably with the hard-boiled approach of Dashiell Hammett where murder is committed for a reason and with the means at hand not hand-wrought duelling pistols or curare.

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Hi,

Anyone else noticed in many police drams the guilty party always seems to get tricked into confessing - why don't they just keep their mouth shut, or better yet use their right to have a lawyer?!

It often seems to happen in CSI, but I have been watching the Shield recently which is supposed to be more realistic and it happens there too - is it real in that it shows just how dumb criminals are? They often even trick them by saying we have two witnesses, when they don't - a lawyer would pick this trick up straight away surely - why don't they demand a lawyer before interview?!

They are tv programs, entertainment. It's not such a satisfying story if the convicted is still claiming innocence. No 'closure'.

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Hi,

Anyone else noticed in many police drams the guilty party always seems to get tricked into confessing - why don't they just keep their mouth shut, or better yet use their right to have a lawyer?!

It often seems to happen in CSI, but I have been watching the Shield recently which is supposed to be more realistic and it happens there too - is it real in that it shows just how dumb criminals are? They often even trick them by saying we have two witnesses, when they don't - a lawyer would pick this trick up straight away surely - why don't they demand a lawyer before interview?!

A cynic might say its the Dirty TrickCyclist Department in action, attempting to elicit change in the populations behaviours by making it common knowledge that the coppers always get their man, and everyone breaks under interview.

Seems to have worked, what with violent crime well down according to some.

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Raymond Chandler's central criticism of Agatha Christie, Dororthy Sayers and novelists of their ilk is that the classic detective murder is committed in the most contrived of circumstances but only to provide a body. Who would go to that kind of trouble, and why, given the principal actors are all comfortably middle-class? He observed that the easiest crimes for the boys with their feet up at the station to solve were the ones where the protagonist had tried to get fancy. Too many loose ends, too many plots that only work because of split-second timing. Chandler juxtaposed these locked room mysteries disfavourably with the hard-boiled approach of Dashiell Hammett where murder is committed for a reason and with the means at hand not hand-wrought duelling pistols or curare.

Great post.

As has been said - it's all fiction and without it we would't have the convoluted scripts of Columbo! People in these positions don't do the dirty work themselves.

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I've never seen Tony Blair confess to anything.

You just need McCoy to get him in the witness box and ask him so many pointed questions that he comes clean in a fit of rage..........

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Well, as fiction is often a morality tale, it's a classic plot device of the final act: the baddie explains their actions at length to provide the hero / their allies with time to restore good over evil

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I thought this was going to be about reality TV, where this happens too - a lot of the time. The only difference is they only generally show it if they are guilty anyway, so it's justified in a TV kind of way.

I can only think of about two examples where innocent people have tried to be tricked into pleading quilty; the one where someone bought stolen goods (on that shop lifting program a few weeks back) and another about a young chap driving a (powerful) car with the wrong number plate on the back - not his fault, the garage messed up the car delivery.

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I think a good lawyer would get most of Columbo's arrests off the hook.

I watched a CIS Vegas last night, about a TV newsreader killed in the studio, and it was very weak.

They accused don't ask for lawyers as the extra actor would cost money - even more if the actor has to talk.

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I think as others have said, it has more to do with story-telling in that the viewer wants to see all the losse ends tied up neatly at the end and see if they picked up on all the clues.

Columbo starts out by revealing the actual killer and the episode is about Coumbo trying to trick/trap them so it's the other way around to most.

Poirot and Marple keep the killer a secret to the end and when all the cast have been gathered together at a meeting that most would probably have refused to attend anyway the sordid details all get revealed to everyone together. And even when they are revealed, if you have watched closely, actually quite a bit of it is really circumstancial guesswork anyway which is posited as the truth and the only way in which the events could have unfolded.

In one Poirot episode the only clue in the entire thing that I can remember was when someone smiled at someone else at a funeral and the actual plot was fairly risible. I'd venture nobody in the real world would possibly have reached that conclusion from the facts as set out.

Midsomer Murders usually has the "reveal" at the end, but the culprit is usually pretty obvious from a fairly early stage in the show.

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Don't forget people - this is about entertainment and viewing figures. If such shows truly were like real Police work they would be incredibly dull, boring and full of political correct nonsense.

If you look at period dramas most of the UK population lived in huge mansions from 1900 to 1939.

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  • 239 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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