HBO’s True Detective has two episodes left in its first season, but viewers have already created a bonafide Twitter phenomenon based on the fact that each season will feature a different set of detectives, solving different mysteries. A hashtag was born, and the Internet quickly swelled like a Louisiana river after a storm with tongue-in-cheek speculation of prospective odd couples. Today, we’re evaluating the effectiveness of some of these hypothetical pairings.
Britta Perry and Ben Chang
Left to his devices, Ben Chang is objectively a terrible detective. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen him burn down most of a cafeteria while trying to solve a mystery of mostly his own invention. The modicum of power allotted to him when he was briefly a low-ranking security guard at Greendale Community College immediately went to his head. Chang is a loose canon and decidedly un-brilliant at deductive reasoning. All he brings to the table is a whole bunch of crazy and a cursory understanding of the Spanish language. Britta Perry brings those same things, minus the Spanish.
Chang and Perry each exemplify the half of the half of Rust Cohle that makes him harmful and ineffective. Britta will consume drugs and jump to conclusions, but lacks the brilliance of deductive reasoning for those conclusions to be based on, and Chang is a fair-to-middling-functioning psychopath without the ability to spot patterns and really, in any way, detect. Unfortunately his is a significant part of being a detective.
Verdict: FALSE DETECTIVES
Scooby Doo and Shaggy (turns out his last name is) Rogers
Unfair. They already have the highest success rate in the history of televised detection.
Verdict: STATISTICALLY ALREADY THE BEST DETECTIVES
Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear
Ultimately only as good as the humans controlling their hollow little bodies. Fozzie’s piano and Kermit’s banjo could only get them so far on their own.
Drake and Rob Ford
When you think about it, isn’t Rob Ford the logical conclusion of the YOLO movement? You do what you want, when you want, and you are, literally or metaphorically, the mayor of your own provincial capital. YOLO is the thing you shout before hiding in a bar after last call to do drugs in their bathroom, as is Ford’s wont.
Drake provides the perfect contrast. Jaded by his wealth and fame, he would provide a grounding influence for Ford, and Ford would exasperate him with his shenanigans. The wild card mayor and his steady rapper partner: it’s a new twist on the classic formula.
A scenario: Drake is having trouble with an interrogation. For whatever reason, his methods aren’t working and he’s failing to get some crucial, time-sensitive info. The suspect is gloating, thinking he’s got Drake all figured out, that he’s outsmarted Canada’s premier detective duo. Don’t you want to put that smug criminal in the same room as a vengeful and drugged-up Rob Ford, who needs information? I rest my case.
Also, they would be Mounties, or whatever Mounties have instead of detectives.
Verdict: ENTERTAINING CANADIAN MOUNTIE-DETECTIVES (ON HORSES PROBABLY)
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan
Two hyper-intelligent masters of disguise. There is probably no crime they couldn’t solve.
Verdict: TRUE DETECTIVES
Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray
America’s sweetheart and a lardy fame-monster with stupid hair and sunglasses on the wrong side of his head. They wouldn’t solve any crimes but none of it would be Rachel’s fault.
Verdict: TRAGICALLY FALSE DETECTIVES
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
This pair famously started a detective agency out of their garage while still in single digits, age-wise. They’ve tackled singing sharks, hotel disappearances, and UFO’s. It seems possible that the two amateur sleuths, given some time to mature and possibly attend actual police academy, could be totally competent detectives. On the other hand it seems equally possible that so much success at such a young age would warp their minds and give them unreasonable expectations for themselves, dumping them right into a pressure-cooker of their own invention.
The Olsens would disgrace themselves and break laws attempting to finish cases that they know to be unsolvable, and would probably end up turning in their guns and badges after two or three episodes.
Verdict: FALSE DETECTIVES
Arya Stark and Sally Draper
This is my unpopular opinion: “Mad Men” is a mostly uninteresting show about bad people doing bad things until Sally Draper is introduced, and then it becomes very engaging and one hundred percent heartbreaking. Sally learns life lessons left and right: you can’t trust boys, you can’t trust your father, you can’t trust girls, you can’t trust your mother, you can’t trust humans, you can’t trust your family, everything and everyone is terrible except for the one time you get to see The Beatles.
Arya Stark, on the other hand, has the one trustworthy father in Westeros, which is unlike Earth in so many ways except for the fact that it eats trustworthy people alive and rewards underhandedness and everyone is eligible for death. Don Draper would win the game of thrones in about twenty minutes because he’s morally bankrupt and has a great deal of sexual intercourse, and Lord Eddard probably couldn’t even sell copy to the people at Carnation because of all those scruples, or moral codes or whatever. They’d ask him what the best instant breakfast was and he’d be honor-bound to give the correct answer: Dinosaur Egg Oatmeal. Not great, Bob.
All of this is to say that Stark and Draper would have one of the key ingredients of many successful TV detective pairings: different viewpoints and codes, and the ability to look at the same situation or set of circumstances in totally different ways. Sally’s casual manipulation and Arya’s prowess with a sword could also both come in handy with regards to the collection of evidence.
It’d be unconventional, two pubescent girl detectives, but damn if it wouldn’t just be the most fun show on TV.
Verdict: TRUE DETECTIVES