Created By: Westrim on April 21, 2011 Last Edited By: Westrim on September 3, 2015
Nuked

The First and Only Investigators

The best are the only ones you\'ll ever see

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Trope
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.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • August 21, 2011
    Westrim
    Bumping.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Wanna try bumping on a basis of merit rather than sponsorship?
  • August 21, 2011
    Westrim
    I was bumping on the basis of it being 2 1/2 months since it was last edited, so I'll get it back into consciousness and while I work on it some more and so people can add examples. Don't be pedantic.
  • August 22, 2011
    jaytee
    This is kind of like Flanderization, right?
  • December 21, 2011
    Westrim
    This reply is four months late, but no, not really. Generally it works the other way, with a core group of characters that seem to do everything in the beginning, with more characters that have a closer relationship to reality brought in to do more specific jobs as the show gets more established. The lab rats on CSI, for instance.
  • January 9, 2012
    razorrozar7
    Contrast with Inspector Lestrade, perhaps.
  • January 11, 2012
    Gitman
    • 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.
  • February 6, 2012
    sliz225
    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/internation spy rings in LA each week.
  • March 16, 2012
    Generality
    CSI takes this to such levels that their team often undergo tasks that would normally fall to regular cops or even the SWAT team, like search and seizure of a property, or approaching a house believed to contain a dangerous criminal.
  • August 11, 2012
    Gitman
    Is this different enough from The Main Characters Do Everything to be a separate trope?
  • August 11, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^ This seems more like The Main Characters Get Every Job.
  • February 4, 2013
    Westrim
    Bumping. I'd like input regarding the previous two comments, though this trope is crime drama based.
  • February 4, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Looks like a variation of 'The Main Characters Do Everything'. It's where it gets to the point that there's not even a justification about *why* The Main Characters Do Everything (if there ever was one to begin with-and many of the examples on the blue link page do-they're elite units or whatever the heck).
  • February 4, 2013
    Westrim
    The difference is, that trope is about the characters doing everything 'after' they get called up. This is about calling them up in the first place, even for mundane matters.
  • February 5, 2013
    chicagomel
    Re the CSI example,it may be averted in the spinoffs...in CSI Miami and CSI NY, they actually ARE detectives.
  • September 3, 2015
    Ominae
    Don't know if I can still put this up:

    In the mainstream Hayarigami games, Assistant Inspector Junya Kazami and Sergeant Soichiro Kogure of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police's Historical Archives Section take up the slack in investigating occult-related crimes in Tokyo since they're the only officers available to do the job and that the section has its reputation Shrouded In Myth in the force, so it helps them investigate without attracting too much attention. The other personnel assigned are forensic/occult specialists and don't get called in unless their expert advice is urgently needed. Inspector Ranko Inudo, being the Osakan native she is, prefers to stay back at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police HQ and take a break. Even when Kaoru Haguro from the Criminal Investigation Bureau is transferred to boost the section's manpower, the two are usually involved with him relegated to the background.


    In Shin Hayaragmi, the S Prefectural Police's Special RA Section is only staffed by three officers. And even at this, only Saki Hojo and Hayato Kazamori do the actual detective work while Kunio Kuroda stays behind and doesn't join in unless his presence is needed.
  • September 3, 2015
    NateTheGreat
    In theory there are dozens of teams on Stargate SG 1, but the titular team does over 90% of anything important. How many times have you seen them mention "Oh, yeah, SG-3 made contact with that important civilization, remember?" Not very many.
  • September 3, 2015
    StarSword
    This is The Main Characters Do Everything. Motion to discard
  • September 3, 2015
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    Duplicate Trope. Discarding.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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