Sunday, January 5, 2014

Scotland Yard and Adam Worth

On PBS, I watched a special called Secrets of Scotland Yard, which detailed the history of the Metropolitan Police Force from its founding by Robert Peel. I was surprised that the special mentioned some corruption scandals in Scotland Yard, which for instance led to the establishment of the Criminal Investigation Department. Several real life cases are discussed, such as the Crippen murder, Adam Worth, Jack the Ripper, as well as modern cases.

I much preferred this Scotland Yard show to the How Sherlock Changed the World special, which relied too much on BBC Sherlock clips. The Scotland Yard special emphasized that the police were not incompetent before Sherlock Holmes came along. They did do detective work, and were developing new investigation methods all the time. I think that BBC Sherlock, and the special that praised it so, actually do the police a disservice by making it look like the police are incompetent just to make Holmes look superior. As much as I hate Moriarty on Elementary (and will never watch her again), I adore how the NYPD characters are good detectives too, and there are problems with Holmes's style of taking shortcuts. Other people don't just let Holmes do whatever he wants just because he's a genius. They stand up for themselves and point out his bad behavior. There's so much good in this show if it weren't tainted by the stupid "Holmes's nemesis must be a psycho whose crimes are stupid and illogical for any competent criminal, much less a genius mastermind"! Fuck that. I want my real Moriarty back, and my real Irene Adler. Guy Ritchie seems to be the only one giving the real Moriarty (and some cool women to make up for Irene Adler), but I have no idea when he'll do another Holmes movie.

Meanwhile BBC Sherlock is all flash and style with no substance. Not everything can be solved by Holmes through sheer arrogance, rudeness, and fast-talking. Those mysteries were shitty and not even plausible by fictional standards. Fuck you, Moffat, Gatiss, and the whole lot of you hacks who don't care about plots making sense!

Anyway, back to the Scotland Yard special. I also appreciated seeing the viewpoint of Scotland Yard about Adam Worth, and his theft of the Gainsborough painting. They even mentioned William Pinkerton's "bizarre friendship" with the criminal mastermind, which led him to help Worth sell back the stolen painting. There's apparently more than one book about Worth called the Napoleon of Crime, so I'll have to see if I can find it. Maybe the other book will be less obsessed about the Duchess of Devonshire than Ben Macintyre.

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