It seems as though the same person writes all the crimes shows, or the writers use a standard formula. By watching a few crime shows, I have reversed engineered the formula for each show. By grouping the necessary steps common to most shows, I have developed a checklist that can be used for many, if not all, TV detective shows. Writers that are eager to break into TV screenwriting can use this checklist to write screenplays and submit them to producers.
This formula will work for Castle, The Mentalist, CSI, Criminal Minds, Major Crimes, Glades, and many other TV detective shows.
1. Opening scene: Episode opens with the female lead and male lead in bed at (select one): a. her apartment b. his apartment c. in a hotel
2. A cell phone rings (mandatory). One of the two must answer while the other says, “Don’t answer that!” To which the other must say, “We have to. We’re on call.”
3. Whoever answers the phone must listen and then say, “We’ll be right there.” (Must act as if not going is an option. Must show disappointment)
4. Optional additional statement-female lead says, “I will make it up to you.” Follow this with a coy smile. Male detective must smile.
5. Both arrive at murder scene together. (He/she) finds a piece of evidence overlooked by 12 other CSI people and 5 other detectives.
6. (He/she) says, “Canvas the neighborhood and see if anyone saw anything. Also, check all the security tapes within a 100-mile radius and see what comes up. Check the ATMs while you’re at it and get me a cup of coffee.” (Everyone must slap their forehead as if they had never thought of that.)
7. The medical examiner must be a loveable character who is (pick one). a. old b.crippled c. a geek d. a good looking female e. a genius
8. The detectives take the evidence from the crime scene to the lab. The results come back in 30 seconds.
9. The following records are easy to obtain; a. financial records b. telephone calls (provided by NSA) c. all e-mails for the last seven years (provided by NSA) d. all credit card transactions (provided by NSA) e. all tweets (provided by Twitter) f. nude pictures from the internet (provided by Facebook) g. photographs from all ATMs, traffic lights, and security cameras.