TV needs more sleuths of a certain age

91842__csi_lSo, with William Petersen (pictured) revealing to The Chicago Tribune‘s TV blogger Maureen Ryan that he may be cutting back on his CSI schedule next season, and with Dennis Farina no longer on Law & Order (Jesse L. Martin becomes the crusty older partner when the show returns to NBC’s schedule in a new timeslot tonight), we face a world where solving TV murder is mainly the domain of sexy young things. Which is kind of sad, no? I mean, just yesterday, my colleague Alynda Wheat and I were lamenting the demise of the ”Old People Who Solve Crimes” genre. Remember the jauntier days when that angel of death, Jessica Fletcher, traveled the land and thwarted homicidal maniacs on Murder, She Wrote? Or the simpler, less gory plotlines of Diagnosis Murder? Don’t today’s youth (and seniors) deserve a similar kind of show in primetime? And isn’t PopWatch the perfect place to brainstorm it?

Here’s the pitch for my show, Life and Death: Phenomenally talented Conchata Farrell (of Mystic Pizza and Two and a Half Men fame) stars as Chicago-based pharmaceutical saleswoman Candy Stripowski, who happens upon a variety of murder/assault victims as she travels the Midwest hospital circuit. With the assistance of her boss, former medical examiner Dusty Jenkins (played, of course, by Robert Guillaume), she helps hapless local police forces to bring the perpetrators to justice. Oh, and Alynda insists Rita Moreno needs to be part of the cast… and she’s totally right. So pitch in and suggest a character for Moreno to play, or do one better and pitch a ”Old People Who Solve Crimes” series of your own. Begin!

addCredit(“CSI: Robert Voets/CBS”)


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  • Katyna

    Robert Guillaume is awesome, but didn’t he suffer a stroke a few years ago?

  • Gretchen Weiners

    Michael I think Rita Moreno should play sort of a travel coordinator/computer whiz. I envision someone like Connie from the Stephanie Plum novels (anyone? please tell me I’m not the only one who reads these). Connie is a secretary, but she can make magic happen with a few precious key strokes and a background check database. I understand that this may be a strech for Rita, but I think she can handle it. And do you think perhaps at the end of each episode they can all discuss things over a game of mah jong and some herbal tea? No?

  • Lila

    How about Rita plays Conchata’s mom who is also a gypsy with psychic ability. Since the ties are strong between mother and daughter, she is always available to help her
    whether by phone or in person.

  • Ceballos

    So is Tony Shalhoub (about to turn 53) too much of a young whippersnapper to be considered the go-to “Old Person who solves crimes”? (he’s practically the same age as Peteresen)
    Even if he’s not quite in his 60s or 70s, the style of “Monk” always seemed like the natural heir to hour-long, one-mystery-a-week shows like “Murder, She Wrote”, “Diagnosis Murder”, and even “Matlock” a little bit.

  • Ed

    I’ve never been one to watch crime dramas like CSI but who is the hunky dude with the hat on?
    He looks like a “bear” with clothes on.

  • Anna

    Noooo, don’t go away Grissom!

  • Anna

    Robert Guillaume did suffer a stroke but he was back to work on his tv show a few months later. He’s been working fairly consistently ever since.

  • brandon218

    Old people solving mysteries…Actually, I have always secretly hoped that David Letterman would expand his weekly “Will It Float?” segment into a stand-alone series. Maybe he and Paul could travel from city to city, assisting the hapless local sheriffs, solving crimes and capturing criminals through the magic of buoyancy tests.
    That would be cool.

  • Neil

    You need a crime-solving older couple, kinda like Ray Romano’s parents on “Everybody Loves Raymond”, out there solving crimes. Lots of bickering and complaining to get laughs. Like “Columbo meets Jessica Fletcher”.

  • KP

    This would be a great vehicle for Harrison Ford. He hasn’t done anything that exciting in quite some time.

  • NC Viewer

    That pitch actually seems pretty viable!

  • mike

    When old people solve crimes like Matlock, Murder She Wrote, the guilty always seem to be young and good-looking.
    I prefer Veronica Mars to Jessica Fletcher anyway.

  • Will Holston

    NBC really screwed over L&O with this move to fridays. Anyone remember a little show called Law and Order: Trial by Jury? No….exactly

  • Dave

    Mike, young and good looking people (like myself of course) are catered to by the entertainment industry all the time, so I think an old crime solver would be a great way to fill the void Slezak’s highlighted. Old people, and I’m not using the term pejoratively, watch a lot of TV (just look at CBS’ demos), so it would probably do well in the ratings.

  • brandonk

    After the success of “Matlock,” “Diagnosis Murder,” and “Murder, She Wrote,” you’d think there would be more old-people-solving-crimes shows. Of course, TV execs seem to always try to duplicate the biggest ratings-grabbers (like Lost), so maybe it’s no surprise that moderately successful shows like the forementioned are overlooked.
    My idea would probably never fly, because the cruise companies would have a fit, but I envision a ship’s doctor, male or female, who solves murders and other crimes on board and at exotic ports of call. Call it “The Crime Boat.”

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