The First and Only Investigators
The best are the only ones you'll ever see


(permanent link) added: 2011-04-21 15:20:10 sponsor: Westrim (last reply: 2013-02-05 08:15:55)

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May need a better title, More Examples Please, suggestions appreciated concerning the intro.

The team is elite. Their competence and effectiveness is beyond question. If there is a murder in their jurisdiction, they’re the first to know and the first to dig up all but the most basic or dull to gather info, because being the elite, they take on every homicide case. Wait a minute…

In Real Life, things do not work this way. Regular homicide is going to do quite a bit of digging before it's decided that the big guns are needed; if there are big guns. It's a product of the compression of the investigative process and timelines in such stories, which imply that the case was worked over the course of a couple of days, not months or years as is more typical.

Often times this will be Handwaved by saying that as the elite they get the important cases, and that may apply for a while- but sooner or later they're going to be the first ones on the scene of a murdered prostitute, whose connection to the Mayor is at least three twists in, or a robbery that will only be connected to terrorism before the last commercial break. Bonus points if there's rows of desks behind them filled with coworkers.

Contrast with Inspector Lestrade, where there actually are other people working the case who just aren't as good or quick.


  • In NCIS the team seems to be the go to guys for major crimes involving Navy personnel (mostly murders), but often end up entangled in areas that the agency works in but the team would not, like counterterrorism.
  • NCIS:LA abuses this worse than the original. It's reached the point where the team is actually confused or complains when they're assigned to a "normal" case. One has to wonder just how many Petty Officers get gunned down by terrorists/criminal cartels/international spy rings in LA each week.
  • As part of making the CSIs in Crime Scene Investigation the superentities they are, the detectives actually seem to be subordinate to them, rather than the ones in charge.
  • The team in Castle seems to get an inordinate number of high profile cases and murders for three detectives and a writer. More noticeable since they're ostensibly regular detectives on a floor with many more detectives in one precinct, rather than being the best of the best.
  • House is formatted like a crime drama, but with medical ailments instead of crimes, and this trope is in full swing, albeit played with a bit. House is a world-famous diagnostician, and he supposedly only gets the cases no one else can figure out, but he often gets cases referred to him (or deliberately takes them) that seem mundane, but have some quirk that piques his interest. Other times, another doctor will ask him for a consult on a case that House thinks is open-and-shut, until he hears some detail that makes it unusual, or he'll come across an extremely implausible ailment while seeing random people in clinic duty.
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