Why do Psychiatrists Like Detectives

Dalziel and Pascoe
Since recent Dalziel and Pascoe is my favorite detective series.

Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel is more caveman than new man — a cigarette-puffing, beer-swigging detective with a large gut, a foul mouth and a scowl that seems carved into his face. With his thick Yorkshire accent and his abrasive demeanor. (from NYT)

I have watched dectectives for ever. I can even remember I Spy and Miami Vice. But I got really interested with Morse. He didn’t conform to the TV stereotype of policemen. He was middle aged, out of condition, single, intellectual, loved classical music and real ale.

Inspector Morse

To me the attraction is about the detectives them selfs. Always professional, unorthodox in their methods but good at their job. Struggling against new logo’s, rules and regulations lay down upon them by their organizations. Yes the same struggle doctors have as well these days.

Besides idealization and identification with the detectives there are some analogies between detective fiction and clinical method. Clinicians or psychiatrists use observation, they need an ability in deduction, logical thinking and an ability to spot inconsistencies to solve a case or the symptoms of a patient.

Clinical reasoning is comparable to detective fiction. The interview is both for detectives and psychiatrists a vital investigative tool.In detectives psychological and social circumstances play an important role as well as in psychiatry.

A Touch of Frost

After Morse I got addicted to A Touch of Frost and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. With Silent Witness in 1996, the BBC created a pathologist-led detective team with Amanda Burton. I didn’t like that series so much, she was to much self-defeating.

In around 2000 big T.V. companies like CBS made shows that focussed on crime/science, that then became known as “forensic and crime shows”. Their unique selling point was the use of computer generated graphics to show, not tell, the science and show the seemingly impossible detail of what happens to humans in murders. This kind of series soon lost my interest. To unreal, to technical and boring in the end. You now have a couple of them all using the same formula.

Besides the good and bad guy scenarios in detective series you can put yourself in their place and associate yourself with a character in the series. Curiosity is another important characteristic of detectives as well as doctors. Solving the puzzle with various hints together with the detective is what attracts.

Which detectives do you like and why?