Friday, February 18, 2011

In which fangirlism meets extended metaphor

Or, as inspired by the ever-excellent Lisa Kilian: Everything I know about wrangling WIPs, I learned from NCIS. Namely:

  • Don’t bring in a perp unless you’ve got something on ‘em. If you don’t have anything to go on, it’s a waste of time.

  • With that mind, investigate any and all leads to their fullest before discarding a suspect.

  • When you drag one in for interrogation, let ‘em stew for a while before you start. It builds tension and sends the mind wandering to all the horrible – and wonderful – possibilities.

  • Be flexible. Different perps break at different things. If they’re not responding to you, change your approach or bring in someone that they will respond to.

  • When you do bring in outside help, trust your team and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

  • When you’re a probie, you will make mistakes. Everyone does. The important thing is to learn from them, so you’ll become better in your prime.

  • The people who knew you when you were a probie will never let you forget that you were a probie. Come to terms with this now.

  • On the plus side? You’re their probie, and they’ll be looking out for you.

  • Don’t be afraid to raise your voice and get your hands dirty. Sometimes, you need to break a finger to get your answers.

  • Sometimes it's good to listen to authority. And sometimes, you need to tell authority to stuff it.

  • Sometimes, you need to step away from the job for a few moments. Sometimes you need to step away for a few days. And sometimes you need to announce your resignation and disappear to Mexico for three weeks. The important thing is that you come back eventually and finish the job.
But I think the most important thing I ever learned from NCIS was this: sometimes, it doesn’t matter if the investigation is going slow. Drama and good storytelling don’t have to come from action or from a rapid-fire barrage of clues connecting to other clues connecting to shocking revelations. If you have strong characters who have dynamic interpersonal relationships and good chemistry, they can carry the entire show on their own.

1 comment:

  1. I love it.

    In fact, I LOVE it love it.