Not Thriving (titles crowner 7/29/14): The Inspector

Deadlock Clock: 27th Jan 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [61]
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This trope is confusing a common but not universally used police title with a character archetype commonly used as a story telling convention (ie a character trope).

By doing so, it is placing an arbitrary limit on a trope that could be defined in a way that makes it more commonly used. It claims to be one of the most commonly used protagonists in crime fiction, yet it has only 15 on page examples and 29 wicks (counting indices).

The page defines itself as "this is a plain clothes police officer who holds the rank of Detective Inspector or Detective Chief Inspector in British works, or Lieutenant in American works."

I see a couple of problems with that.

  1. We are defining a trope in terms of a rank that is used in some police forces, yet many different police forces might not use the same words, but still could provide characters that play equivalent roles.
  2. While "Lieutenant" might be the technical equivalent to the British rank, it terms of the role played in police detective stories, it is my observation that police lieutenants rarely play the staring roles in American stories the way that police inspectors do with British series.
  3. Many detective sergeants (or comparable ranks) even mid level detectives whose ranks are never given play a comparable story telling role the one that is described for the police inspector, namely as a older and more senior of a police duo, who is occasionally yelled at by Da Chief yet also has subordinates of his own.

Also, one final note is that we seem to lack a Police Detective trope, to contrast with the Private Detective and the Amateur Sleuth.

I propose one of two solutions:

  • A: Make this a supertrope for all police detectives.
  • B: Make this a trope covering all police detectives who serve as the protagonist and chief investigator of a series and have subordinates of their own but are not Da Chief of their particular organization as portrayed, whether they be sergeant, lieutenant, inspector, chief inspector, captain, or some German or Japanese word I don't even know.

Also, it needs to be sent to YKTTW to gather more examples, and the existing examples need more context than a name and a rank.

edited 16th Nov '13 4:22:04 PM by Catbert

2 SeptimusHeap16th Nov 2013 09:39:04 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Frankly, given the example quality, I would just throw the current page away and plug a YKTTW for A in there - A, because I think the title is broader than B.
In most American police departments, Detectives with official rank are purely supervisors, generally Lieutenants or Captains. There is generally not a Detective Sergent in America, the equivalent is held by a higher grade of detective. Examples would be NYPD Detective Kate Beckett in the series Castle who heads her three man team and LAPD Detective Harry Bosch in Michael Connelly novels who is always the senior detective and has at least one or two subordinates.
Yeah, another too-narrowly-defined trope.

In this case, I'd say the character probably is a police, that has investigating crimes as their primary duty. Generally they're of higher rank than patrol officers and are allowed to wear civilain clothing while on duty.

Then mention the ranks in British and American systems at least, and so on.
[up][up]Dragnet has Sergeant Joe Friday. But yeah, police lieutenants and captains in American series usually play the role of Da Chief sitting at the desk rather than the protagonist character actually going out into the field to do hands on investigation.
Bumping for more feedback.

"Inspector sounds right for a detective's rank, even though that's not what it actually means."

Yes, I think this badly needs a rename if it's a trope at all.
8 StarSword25th Nov 2013 06:49:14 PM from somewhere in deep space , Relationship Status: In denial
You are of Bajor.
I really don't see how what a detective is called is exactly relevant to their role in the story, and this title in particular is severely localized to British Commonwealth countries.
9 shimaspawn27th Nov 2013 12:38:33 PM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Needing to have the official rank of inspector does not seem to be part of how the trope is actually used.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
[up]Yes and no. Yes, it does not seem to make much of a difference in how police detectives are used in media. However, because our page is defining it has being people with either the title of police inspector or the American title of police lieutenant, the examples on this page and in many of the wicks have on the whole been rather narrowly used to those characters who either hold such ranks or who hold ranks that are normally translated into English as "Inspector". Keep in mind that all the character on the page that have "DI" or "DCI" in front of them are Detective Inspector and Detective Chief Inspector respectively.

Incidentally, another problem with the page is that it has work pages potholed under character names, which no longer accepted practice.

edited 28th Nov '13 5:05:34 AM by Catbert

Could we just... not have Death anymore?
So what are tropers thinking? We redefine as a Criminal Investigative Officer who is The Captain? (Below Da Chief, yet has subordinates)

edited 9th Dec '13 4:48:43 PM by crazysamaritan

Bump. We need more feeback!
13 Willbyr24th Jan 2014 04:02:18 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Clock is set.
I think it is time from a crowner. Options being

  1. Leave alone
  2. Redefine as "Middle level police detective who leads an investigation, has at least one subordinate, but is lower than Da Chief", while taking out the requirement that he should have any specific rank or title.
  3. Redefine as "Any police detective, in contrast with the Private Dective and the Amatuer Slueth"

Once we decide on redefining, we can then vote on renaming.

Could someone please make a crowner because I don't have a lot of time at the moment and I'm kinda clumsy with the procedures for making crowners?
15 StarSword24th Jan 2014 07:16:02 AM from somewhere in deep space , Relationship Status: In denial
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Before I vote.... what is the trope for "Police Officer"? Do we have a Beat Cop?

Edit: Meddlesome Patrolman is more specific than my request. Using Monk as an example, Randy Disher is a subordinate to Da Chief, Stottlemeyer.

edited 24th Jan '14 8:06:01 AM by crazysamaritan

Right now we have no "Police Detective" trope. We have a Cops and Detectives index, but no one trope covers all cops or all police detectives.

Contrast to Amateur Sleuth or Private Detective.
18 Willbyr24th Jan 2014 09:47:42 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
[up][up][up] Crowner's hooked.
19 SeptimusHeap15th Apr 2014 01:20:33 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Votes bump!

"Redefine as "Middle level police detective who leads an investigation, has at least one subordinate, but is lower than Da Chief", while taking out the requirement that he should have any specific rank or title. " is the only option in green at 10-0; all else in red.
20 Madrugada15th Apr 2014 02:05:15 AM , Relationship Status: In season
Crowner called:

10 (yeas:10 nays:0)

Redefine as "Middle level police detective who leads an investigation, has at least one subordinate, but is lower than Da Chief", while taking out the requirement that he should have any specific rank or title.

Let the cleaning up commence.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Actually what we need is not so much a cleanup, but a rewrite of the definition and collecting more examples in YTTW.

Also, I think the next step is to decide if we should rename this. "Inspector" can mean all sorts of things. At the minimum, we should change it to The Police Inspector.
22 SeptimusHeap15th Apr 2014 04:14:26 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I am not committed on a rename yet, but I can see a description rewrite and a YKTTW if someone is willing to work on it.
I did an initial rewrite of the description. I think it could be better and I'd like some feedback before I take it to YKTTW.
24 Larkmarn15th Apr 2014 08:15:55 AM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
I don't like the name. For anyone unfamiliar with British police titles, The Inspector is incredibly broad. Doesn't seem any more indicative of the description than any given sleuth. Or hell, someone who makes inspections for insurance or other things. Lots of people inspect things, not just police.

If we do rename, how about Middle Management Detective?

edited 15th Apr '14 8:20:00 AM by Larkmarn

Could we just... not have Death anymore?
[up][up] I gave the description my own rewrite, thinking mostly of Grissom from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Zenigata from Franchise/Lupin, and Lassiter from Psych.

Alternative Titles: The Inspector
29th Jul '14 6:11:33 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:

Total posts: 61
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