The Last of the Red Hot Detectives

Television is supposed to be more of a woman’s medium than film. Especially daytime television, when Culturebox, at least, has nothing to do but lie around painting her toenails and watching Judge Judy. (In her dreams.) Men may control the remote, the received wisdom has it, but women buy the soap and soda and other products whose ad revenues rule the airwaves.

Culturebox believes that the powers that program may be operating on outmoded assumptions. Consider what a gal of the ‘90s is said to be looking for in a guy–that he be sensitive to nuance, committed to working through problems, securely employed, possessed of at least one nice suit. Most of the men Culturebox has got to know over the last several years who have met these criteria have been completely fictional police detectives on prime-time network dramas. Why, then, was the justly critically acclaimed Homicide: Life on the Street recently canceled in favor of the theoretically greater female draw of Providence? The squad room on Homicide was always stocked with at least three very fetching men (though not always the same three from season to season). Personally, Culturebox cherishes an almost pathetic affection for the Buddhist and “not strictly heterosexual” (as he puts it) Detective Tim Bayliss, as played by Kyle Secor, as well as the languorous, laconic Detective Meldrick Lewis, as played by Clark Johnson. These are flames now destined to burn themselves out on Court TV reruns. Thank god we still have Law & Order’s Detective Lenny Briscoe, as played by Jerry Orbach, who, not that it has anything to do with anything, also starred in the original stage production of Promises, Promises, which is the only musical written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

In any event, we will miss Homicide, which trailed away as artfully as it debuted, with two detectives at a crime scene at night, looking for evidence they barely hope to find, and musing about how the problem with their job is that it’s got nothing to do with life. Sort of like television programming, Culturebox is tempted to say, but she’ll keep the thought to herself, because she is much too ladylike for such cheap shots.