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Teamwork: Lessons from Law and Order

Teamwork: Lessons from Law and Order

Law and Order for the Supernatural Set

Hi, my name is Sheryl Steines and I am a “Law and Order” addict. From the first uttering of “In the criminal justice system…” to the rolling credits, I get sucked into the story and the characters. Heaven help me if it’s a SVU marathon – I can be in front of the TV all day. I have always had a thing for procedural dramas. I try to follow all of the twists and the turns in the plot. It is a challenge to guess the red herring before they admit that the investigation had taken the wrong turn. And I am proud to say that my keen analytical skills have helped me, many a time, to figure out the guilty party way before Stabler and Benson.

The Basis for the Story

So when I sat down to start writing the Wizard Hall Chronicles, it was only natural that my main characters would be involved is solving crimes – albeit in the realm of the supernatural. Annie Pearce is very similar to Olivia Benson; passionate about keeping the magical world safe. She follows her head and her heart to uncover the villains and protect the innocent. And while she might go out on her own to follow a hunch, she is usually surrounded by a team of compatriots that share her same devotion to fighting those who break their magical laws.

Teamwork

The members of the Wizard Guard are very similar the “dedicated detectives” described in Law and Order’s prologue. Annie’s official partner switches between “The Day of the First Sun” and “Black Market,” but her relationships with those who stand at her side are almost identical. There is a trust and a connection she has built with Gibbs, a wizened older Guard whose curmudgeonly ways makes him even easier for Annie to love. She relies on specialists like Lial and Graham to do their jobs – tracking and hiding magic – as the L&O cops rely on the expertise of others like psychiatrists Huang and Olivet to find their perp. And of course, Annie’s boss Milo has the same no-nonsense approach of SVU’s Captain Cragen.

Dedication and Collaboration

But the trait that these two crime fighting teams share the most is a certain togetherness. It was important to me to create that same feeling of cohesive collaboration and dedication. These are people who have each other’s backs. Communication flows throughout their crew with nary a word spoken. For us on the outside, we can feel safe within this magical world. We know that they stand in the way between us and danger, risking their lives for each other and for us. And, in the end, we love them all the more for it.

Bring Back Dirk Gently – Quirky, Fun and One of the Best!

Bring Back Dirk Gently – Quirky, Fun and One of the Best!

Television – My favorite Storytelling Medium

This self-proclaimed television junkie fully admits I love the medium. It’s easy as it comes to me. I can watch in my pajamas, under a blanket while the snow falls and the temperature drops, eating my weight in chocolate.

Movies, while fun spectacles of light and sound in it two-story glory, can’t always tell the full story. Plot lines are shortened, back stories almost non-existent. Television can take it’s time.

Characters and plots can roll out slowly, and meander through a plot, like a river gliding through the countryside.

I like Quirky, I like fun

I like the bizarre characters, good writing, good acting and fresh stories. And there in a commercial I see it. My perfect show. Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency. In my head, it seemed like the best of both worlds. Detective shows (one of my favorite (with quirky characters and fun stories).

I got so much more.

Mixing Genres

Obviously by the title, it’s a detective agency based in a different reality. Here there’s time travel and fantasy elements. Just making it that much better. I was told once you couldn’t mix genres. But this mixing creates an amusing tale that leads the viewer down a twisty, windy road. A little like following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole.

And yes. You can mix genres.

Dirk Gently and Friends- Quirky, Loveable, Intolerable, Adorable

Slightly supernatural in that Dirk the detective, believes “It’s all connected”, and it’s that philosophy that lets Dirk glide from one clue to the next. He knows it will happen that way though he doesn’t know what or when it will happen. He’s adorable, he positive until he isn’t and he walks through the case believing that it will turn out just fine.

Todd Brotzman, his unwilling partner, stubborn, lonely, working a dead-end job, is dragged through the adventure, sharing with Dirk the discovering of each new clue, he soon realizes just how true “It’s all connected” really is.

There’s Farrah, Amanda and Bart and Ken and the Rowdy Three, all quirky in their own manners, their own very different lives and psychic abilities. Each of them roll out to us slowly, confusingly as we wonder what their place is in this murder mystery. None of them are walking billboards for a type of person. They’re all complex, multi layered people, who you love, you hate, you cheer for, you boo, depending on the episode. They’re human, they’re funny, they get frustrated, and upset as their worlds collide, and fall apart and they pick themselves back up, just like the rest of us.

Bring Back Dirk Gently –

I didn’t even mind that I was thoroughly confused each episode, because you were meant to be confused. We were meant to experience the story in a frustrating, confusing way, just like the characters do. I couldn’t wait for each episode just to experience the rainbow of emotions, fun and frustrating in each hour-long episode.

I couldn’t wait for season two. And it didn’t disappoint. They grew closer, they missed each other, they were so determined to find each other and solve the crime. Unwavering belief that “All things are connected”. And then they cancelled it.

Please bring it back. Please let me hide under the covers and wear a smile on my face for an hour as the friends take me on a bumpy ride through another case that will get solved because “It’s all connected”.

 

 

 

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