Can you really chase a perp in those heels?

I’ve been watching too much TV lately, I’ll admit it. But these days there seem to be a lot of great shows on and I’m weak, so very weak. I particularly like the shows Castle and Psych. Both are fun “detective” stories with very little resemblance to actual police procedure. But even though we are supposed to understand that it is fiction, do they really think we don’t notice that both main female cops are wearing 5-inch heels on the job? Seriously?

Ok, I know we have to suspend disbelief for most of these shows, but this is so distracting to me. With every bit of fiction, there has to be some basis in truth for us to follow it. I touched on this topic a little bit ago here when I ranted about Grace Adler’s weight and eating as unrealistic, then I was reminded that not everyone gains weight when they eat. Point taken.

But now, I want someone to point out a female police detective who arrives at a crime scene wearing 5-inch heels and skin-tight pants. It’s just not practical, and aren’t these characters supposed to be hard-nosed cops, or at least want to be treated as such? This is a tough line to walk, as a writer and a viewer.

My take on this is that the men running these shows are conflicted. If they make the female cop too hard-assed and tough, she won’t be attractive. If they give her a mini skirt and hooker shoes, most women won’t watch. Therefore, they make her hard-assed but beautiful, tough but dressed a bit sexy so any guy would want to pick up at a bar (check out how their hair is never messed, they are waifishly thin and the aforementioned heels) but wielding the smart mouth, clever wit and eye for detail that makes us want to be her friend. Shit, I want to be her! But only if you can teach me how to run in those heels!

Now, where can I find those boots Beckett was wearing on Monday night?



9 thoughts on “Can you really chase a perp in those heels?

  1. Ha! This is so true when watching almost any show that depicts subject matter you have some experience with – even common sense and daily life in this case. I’ve been in and out of the defense and gun industries over the years and I know them well. I get ridiculously flustered and annoyed when I watch a TV cop load his un-chambered duty sidearm at the last minute and then flick off his Glock’s non-existent safety with an audible “click” for dramatic effect, apparently to show that he’s the department’s dim bulb. I’m not alone. I see these same complaints on discussion forums, so these flubs do not go unnoticed. Most agree that is reduces the credibility and enjoyability of the program greatly for them. Don’t even get me going on the more serious gripe of how influential Hollywood’s egregiously incorrect and unsafe gun-handling has been in promoting unsafe behavior. I’m an intolerable gun-detail editor because Hollywood could, and should, know better. There are tons of professionals out there who should be tapped as advisers, because the current batch certainly don’t seem qualified. Perhaps they just aren’t in a position to stand up to the egos of the director or performers. Suspended disbelief is one thing, but it’s the production’s job to create a credible enough world to draw us seamlessly into it so we can accept their fanciful storyline. A handful of productions take it seriously and pull it off admirably, but not the majority. I’m aware of authors calling in subject matter experts as well. The existence of good ones proves it can be done.

    A friend of mine was a mountain-rescue team leader. He could barely stand to watch the Stallone movie “Cliffhanger”, not just because it was such a stinker of a movie, but because the rope and rappel work was so incorrect and unsafe it made him crazy as a professional. Likewise, it’s probably almost impossible to watch an action movie or TV show with me.

    Still, in all honesty, I do kind of like it when the hot blonde detective in the 5″ blue suede heels and leather miniskirt tackles the giant biker dude, pins him with a joint lock instantly, makes a gritty quip, and pulls cuffs and a big gun out of…heck, I don’t know, somewhere hidden under her tight little TV-cop getup that has more room than Dr. Who’s TARDIS. Yeah, I guess I’m cool with that for some reason.

    • Mike, you crack me up. It is hard when you know so much about any field, isn’t it? And I suppose it must be difficult to make sure everything is up to par for so many “experts” watching these shows. I never notice anything about the guns unless it’s a glaring error, funny. I know there are a lot of shows that hire experts just so that they can point out any errors, like the ones you mentioned. I don’t think it would be that difficult, unless they don’t want to take the time and energy to fix anything.

      Again, with Cliffhanger, I don’t climb so I wouldn’t notice it. But it’s funny that you mention that since it points out that the movie was so much about climbing, how could they not have an expert letting them know how ridiculous they were? Crazy, right?

      Oh, and for the reasons I mentioned in the blog post, I’m sure you’re OK with the hot blonde in the heels and tight pants pulling out a pair of cuffs from who-knows-where. That’s what they’re counting on! And they’re counting on the fact that I want to know where she got those heels!

      You get me, Mike!

  2. I saw an interview with Mariska Hargitay once where she talked about not getting to wear heels in her role as Olivia Benson because it wouldn’t be realistic. I just focus on getting a nice dose of Shoe Porn and try not to have flashbacks to breaking my ankle…in tennis shoes…on 1/2 inch of asphalt.

  3. I haven’t watched this show, but one would think the writers would at least give her some reason to be wearing heels. Maybe the heels can be used as a weapon. Maybe they could have her flashback to her academy days and show the female recruits being pulled aside and taught how to use pantyhose and high heels to fashion crime fighting nunchucks. When I think of women dressed in police uniforms while wearing heels, bachelor parties and Halloween costumes come to mind. <.<

    The first thing I do if I'm forced into heels… for a wedding, let's say… is take them off. I can't even dance in them! I suppose I should be admiring the talent of these stiletto-wearing detectives, though I might relate to them more if the moment a criminal chase ensued, they kicked off the heels so they could give better chase. Even if I loved wearing heels, the most sensible thing to might be to keep a cute pair of sneakers in my desk to slip on whenever I left to chase down perpetrators. I mean that's just common sense. Women in subways do it, after all.

    • Well, Diana. It sounds like you would not make a very good pretend homicide TV detective in stilettos. I’m afraid you’ll need to find another profession or practice walking in high heels while chasing pretend perps, perhaps in your back yard? Kicking off your heels may be practical, but not sexy. And showing up at a crime scene in sneakers may be practical, once again, but not very sexy or convincing that you can be both sexy, hot and a serious detective.

      Funny you should mention it, I remember wearing flats to work while on the subway and then changing at work, a la Working Girl. Brings back memories.

  4. I hear you loud and clear! And it gets even more unrealistic when they show them running in these neck-breaking shoes. Cagney and Lacey would never have put up with that kind of costuming! 😉

    As for Mike’s point, when I was in law school I was watching Law & Order when I should have been studying for my final. And, well, so was my teacher because one of our questions was based on one of the story lines in that episode. And in the episode it was so wrong! But it made for better TV than the real law and civil court procedure would.

    But, really, I wish someone would just stop and think for a minute and ask if putting women in these hooker shoes is needed. There are cute shoes which are more practical.

  5. I can’t believe how women in crime fighting on TV are shown in those super high heels. I laugh when i watch CSI Miami with Emily Proctor in those super high stilettos. They show her walking on the beach, walking through the woods, and other silly situations. On one show she’s standing in a stairwell and the criminal ran down the stairs past her. I wondered what was coming next. Sure enough, she didn’t even attempt to run down the stairs after him. Instead, she called one of the men on the radio to chase after him. Gimme a break! True law enforcement professionals must cringe when they see this on TV. But, I guess TV is not necessarily reality, but is supposed to entertainment.

    • Exactly my thought. Well-said. And I didn’t see that episode but it makes me laugh. I know actual police officers must get a real kick out of these shows. Thanks for checking in!

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