The first round of the TV Detective World Series is now past the halfway point, and it’s time to move into game nine of sixteen.
Round One – Interrogation Technique
“Only by interrogating the other passengers could I hope to see the light, but when I began to question them, the light, as Macbeth would have said, thickened” – Poirot
Poirot is the master of nuance and subtle wordplay, of setting deliberate traps for his suspects and then springing them expertly. His interrogation technique is determined, but polite. He makes his suspects want to confess.
Bauer also makes his suspects want to confess, but not for quite the same reasons. When a suspect confesses to Bauer it is not because they have been the victim of some clever bout of wordplay or disarmed by a charming demeanour. It is invariably because they don’t want to be beaten up any more, or have a towel stuffed down their throat. Or a family member killed.
“Tell me where the bomb is or I will kill your son” – Bauer
So different approaches by these two detectives, but the judges agree you can’t argue that they both get results.
Round Two – Never Having To Go To The Toilet
Poirot is a refined gentleman of impeccable manners. At no time throughout all of his adventures was he ever required to go to the toilet. And if he had, he certainly wouldn’t have told anyone about it. Known across polite society as the Gentleman Detective, Poirot has lasted entire murder sprees without ever once having to visit the smallest room.
A great showing from Bauer as well, as he manages to resist the pull of visiting the lavatory. He also manages to go without eating and drinking and charging his mobile phone.
Round Three – Presentation
Poirot is always well turned out. From his shiny shoes to his expertly waxed moustache, he is always in perfect finery. Critics may argue that he cares more about his appearance than solving crimes, but Poirot claims in return that a gentleman should find time for solving dastardly murders and personal grooming.
Not so for Bauer, his priorities are firmly job-focussed. Whether he is climbing through tunnels or hacking off people’s heads with hacksaws, Bauer finds that he just can’t stay clean. Every now and then he changes his t-shirt, but it’s only window dressing – his laundry bill is sky high and, judges realise with disdain, he doesn’t even wax his moustache! Most of the time he doesn’t even have one!
Round Four – Survival Rate of Sidekicks
A wonderful show from Poirot on this round. The loyal, trustworthy Hastings is with him right up until his own death. Hastings even makes Poirot’s funeral arrangements – and what better final service is there for a sidekick to perform? A high scoring round for Belgium’s finest.
Oh, dear… This was never going to be a good round and Bauer is angry to be drawn it. Just about every sidekick Jack has ever had has died – whether they turned out to be a spy and killed his wife only to be killed by him; or whether they died flying a nuclear bomb into the desert so Jack wouldn’t have to; or whether they spent several seasons dying only to come back to life and switch sides only to die again or not die but actually die – being Bauer’s sidekick has its dangers. Bauer tries to save face by reminding judges that he “only cut off Chase’s hand”, but it’s a poor show for him.