It's Nice When the Guest Stars AREN'T the Bad Guys

One problem with murder mystery shows is that the bad guy can't be a member of the Scooby Gang (cause eventually there would be no one left, like murder mystery shows set in English villages).

Unfortunately, this means that the moment the guest star shows up, well, There's the villain.

I never watch murder mystery shows to "guess," yet even I get tired of the guest being the bad guy.

One solution is the Timothy Hutton Nero Wolfe approach in which the "players" alternate between bad guys, good guys, detectives, cops, and auxiliary characters.

Most Hollywood shows aren't that highly developed (although the same people do tend to show up on Law & Order).

Colin Hanks gets to play a frenemy.
So I am always impressed when guest stars aren't the bad guys. Numb3rs was surprisingly adept at this. It would bring on decent guest stars, including Jay Baruchel, Lou Diamond Phillips, Joshua Malina, as experts in a particular field. They were there to help the team, not be exposed as the evil henchman to the evil big bad (or even the big bad).

Yes, there were the bad guy guest stars such as David Gallagher, but we knew he was a bad guy from the beginning. No surprises.

Compare this to NCIS where guest stars--even those trusted by the team (though never by Gibbs)--might as well wear tags labeled "DANGER DANGER DANGER!" from Day 1.

Nemesis-but-not-bad-guy-Kelly-Peterson: "Of course, if
we were face to face, I'd have to stand up on that desk."
Though I admit to being amused by the NCIS writers' willingness to spoof their own "surprises"--anyone who works in Abby's lab other than Abby? Yeah, a bad guy.

Blue Bloods is somewhere between Numb3rs and NCIS. Sometimes the guest star is a guest expert; sometimes the guest star is--surprise! surprise!--the bad guy.

I always wonder: do the guest stars get to pick? Hey, every time I'm on one of these shows, I kill someone. Could I be the victim this time? 

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