So I’m watching an episode of Cold Case yesterday (okay, fine, three episodes) and I realize I really hate this show, yet cannot tear myself away. Damn you Cold Case, and damn you TNT for running them back to back so cleverly that I only have approximately six seconds to turn off the television before being drawn into a new crime.
Cold Case has all the train wreak-y elements that Law & Order has that makes it impossible to turn off: A violent crime in the first few minutes? Check. An interesting and immediate twist of events? Check. A red herring? Check. An attractive and “intelligent” cast set to solve the crime? Check. But there are some things that Law & Order has, or rather doesn’t have that allow me to hate myself slightly less in the morning after being drawn into an episode (or twelve).
Cold Case has these elements in spades, and I end up hating myself for watching it not only in the morning, but also WHILE I’m watching, which is just not good for anyone. What are these things you may ask? Don’t worry, I’ve laid them out for you below:
1. Cheesy Music. The music is off the charts cheesy and obvious. I know it’s often put there to mark a point in time – old hippie 60’s music? Our cold case must take place in the 60’s! But it’s WAY overused, and also so obvious as to cause multiple eye rolls per scene. Here’s a hint – unless you’re playing it for comedy, you don’t have a music cue for say, “Brickhouse” when a hot chick enters a room. Subtlety is not a word these people are familiar with.
2. Heartstrings & Happy Endings. Law & Order sometimes has happy endings and/or eye-rollingly obvious attempts at cheese, but it’s not the standard. You cannot find an episode of Cold Case without these things. What should be a straight intelligent procedural instead becomes a “heartfelt drama” about reuniting people or whatever. It’s annoying. Be a procedural, or be a lifetime movie of the week. Pick one.
3. Personal Details about the Recurring Cast. Law & Order (the flagship version) is really good about keeping the personal stuff for the detectives and lawyers basically non-existent, and it’s the reason it’s the best of all the L&O versions. SVU is REALLY bad at it, and Criminal Intent is also bad at it, but it seems more forgivable if only because D’Onofrio is such a talent. Regardless it’s a mistake. SVU becomes all about Olivia’s personal feelings about rape or about Elliot’s feelings about child abuse. Guess what – they don’t like them. Whoo! Surprise! Are you surprised that detectives that have kids and a mother that was raped have really really personal feelings about these issues? No, no you probably weren’t, because it is super obvious and talks down to the viewer. Also, in the billions of episodes I’ve seen of SVU (yes, it feels like billions) I’ve never seen them effectively delve into the detectives’ actual feelings about these issues beyond the basic “this makes me really really mad!” concept.
Cold Case skates the line on this issue of adding personal details in the most annoying of ways. They don’t come out and say anything obvious about these characters lives, but in the one of the episodes I watched yesterday (hopefully my last ever) they dropped at least six (SIX!) hints about blondie’s past experience dealing with addicts and her subsequent abandonment issues. Hello! We get it – her mother or father or whoever was an addict – she doesn’t trust addicts. She has DRAMA about addicts. Move the freak on and solve the god damn case.
So here’s what Cold Case does have going for them: BOBBY CANNAVALE. I would watch paint dry if there was even a hint of a suggestion of Bobby Cannavale making a brief apperance. Especially if he’s going to be all rakishly handsome (as usual) and all funny and full of life but with a slightly shady past…which he is on Cold Case.
So there, now you really know why I watched three freaking old episodes of Cold Case on TNT last night. Never again though, never again. Let’s conveniently ignore the fact that Cannavale’s on a new show CUPID soon on ABC – which allows me to be a little more confident in my “never again” declarations in that I can get my Cannavale fix elsewhere.
SIDENOTE: I’m officially adding Bobby Cannavale to my “list” (top 5)…which I’ll be laminating shortly. Clive Owen, Bobby Cannavale, and man, I can just never decide between Brad Pitt and George Clooney…