Daily Archives: June 2, 2011

If I could choose – who would I like to be?

“I started in London, as a kid. My mother knew I had sort of an inbred talent. She was an actress, so I inherited it from her. But I think I got a lot of it from my grandfather, who was a great politician.”
Angela Lansbury

Jessica Fletcher aka Angela Lansbury
Today’s post came about after I read my blogging friend Chris’ post today ‘Becoming Jessica Fletcher” – read it here.  I really felt honored that Chris should think of me as Jessica Fletcher, that very wise, older woman detective and it set me thinking about who I should like to be.
There is a whole host of feisty women detectives currently on TV and so I thought about them.
Helen MirrenI have to start with Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison in the British police drama produced by Granada.  The series is based on Lynda La Plante’s novel Prime Suspect and it ran for several years in the UK.
In it Helen Mirren plays a world-weary, alcoholic Scotland Yard detective.  I should like to be this resilient and self-reliant. Also I should like to look like her.
Hermione Norris as Carol JordanHermione Norris plays DCI Carol Jordan in an adaptation of Val McDermid’s “Wire in the Blood”.   Jordan heads up the Major Incident Team and relies on the help of a university clinical psychologist, Dr Anthony “Tony” Valentine Hill.

In another series “Spooks” for the BBC she plays MI5 counter terrorism section chief Ros Myers.  Another ‘take no prisoners’ type of female lead that I love.

Then across the Atlantic:

Mariska Hargitay as Det. Olivia Benson  in “Law and Order SVU” (NBC)
In police sex crime divisions, officers last an average of two-three years before burnout.  I really wouldn’t like to encounter some of the things she does but perhaps working with Christopher Meloni will make up for some of those.

Holly Hunter as Grace Hanadarko – “Saving Grace” (TNT)
This chain-smoking,, booze-guzzling, hard-bodied hussy sleeps with her married partner (and anything else in jockey shorts), drives recklessly and keeps company with a disheveled, tobacco-chewing angel named Earl.  Might be fun for a short time.

Stana Katic is Detective Kate Beckett in Castle.   Castle, who becomes interested in Beckett as a potential character for a new book series, uses his connections at the mayor’s office and receives permission to continue accompanying Beckett while investigating cases.  Unlikely but amusing.

Then there is –

Poppy Montgomery as FBI agent Samantha Spade in ‘Without a Trace” that also includes Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Roselyn Sanchez.

Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush  in “Cold Case,”  In this series Rush was originally the only female homicide detective in Philadelphia.

And “Law and Order’s” S. Epatha Merkerson and the women of the CSI franchise, powerful, well-written female protagonists have set the lady detective prototype on its ear.

Cagney and Lacey

via Wikipedia

But I couldn’t do a post on female detectives without mentioning Cagney and Lacey. Walking the beat long before these other Jane-come-latelys, acclaimed 1982 procedural “Cagney & Lacey” is considered America’s first serious drama starring two female leads.

Way back then I wanted to be Christine Cagney played by Sharon Gless.  This series portrayed women in a totally different light and was so far away from the norm.  I just loved it.

And so to answer my own question “Who Would I Like To Be?”.  As Chris has already ‘bagged’ Jessica Fletcher I guess I should still quite like to be Cagney.  But In real life I am happy with who I am.

“I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
who knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce –
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share. “
from I am Becoming the Woman I”ve Wanted by Jayne Relaford Brown.