Police on Murder, She Wrote

Jessica with the clever and dry Det. Lt. Avery Mendelsohn
played by Herschel Bernardi in the episode "Capitol Offense"
One of the intelligent aspects of Murder, She Wrote is the police.

Murder, She Wrote relies on Jessica Fletcher encountering murder wherever she goes. Because she is already a well-known authoress when the series begins, she doesn't encounter all these murders in Cabot Cove. She travels to do book signings and to meet publishers. She also has a stunning number of relatives scattered throughout the U.S. in different states.

Everywhere she goes, she encounters police, and they are as variable as police everywhere. Some of them are Danny Reagan types, tough and down-to-earth. Some of them are genial. Some of them are arrogant. Some of them ask for help. Some of them let Jessica go her way while they take a different tack. Some of them are the murderers!

In other words, they are not all witless boobs, running to Jessica for help.

Okay, granted, darling Tom Bosley as Sheriff Tupper in Cabot Cove is rather witless (Dr. Hazlitt performs as his acerbic counter). He appears to have left the show to become Father Dowling. He was replaced by the gravel-voiced Ron Masak, who is somewhat less witless.

As Agatha Christie herself points out in several of her later books, Dumb police against whom the super-smart private detectives show off are soooo déclassé.

They remain a staple of Holmes mysteries, partly because that's the point of Holmes. However, Elementary--whose Holmes is somewhat more socially adaptable than BBC's Holmes--works quite well with certain members of the police. He's just really, really picky. When Lestrade gets all self-pitying, Watson tells him the following:
Lestrade: I bet you two had quite a laugh last night, didn't you, about my my little mishap. All the things I said.
Watson: Actually I didn't say anything to Sherlock. I didn't think it was my place. But since you brought it up, I don't find your self-pity amusing. When Detective Bell was out of commission, Sherlock ran through a string of detectives. Seven of them. Good ones. Far more than adequate. But none of them good enough for him. Or me.
Lestrade: Yeah, well, he did the same thing back in London, didn't he?
Watson: Until you. He stuck with you. He chose you.
Clever detectives with differing agendas from the celebrated P.I. are always more interesting than silly or dumb ones who can't engage.

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