Last month I flew across the pond to talk crime in London with a this amazing group of writers in one of my day-long seminars on crafting binge-worthy crime dramas. Since you couldn’t all be there, I thought I’d share a take away nugget with all of you on the concept of tropes in crime dramas. How to spot them? How to use them?
Tropes are used all the time in any good crime drama. What is a trope?
Trope means “a turn.” Tropes are turning events in a story. They are conventions writers use to turn
the story in a way that satisfies audience expectations. Here are some common examples:
Something blows up.
Someone dies/body drop.
Someone you think is bad turns out to be good or vice versa.
Someone attempts to harm/kill the investigator
Someone shows up who shouldn’t be there.
Someone innocent dies.
Someone important to the case goes missing.
Evidence is tampered with or missing.
Evidence is a dead end.
Another crime is committed that leads to/connects to the main one.
Next time you watch a crime drama, play a trope game. While watching, make a list of all the tropes you see being used. Whoever has the largest and most accurate list wins!
And… to help you get started. Get a little cheeky with these summer UK Crime picks! (Most available on Netflix)
Broadchurch (traditional detective mystery)
Doc Martin (medical mystery)
Peaky Blinders (action/historic crime)
Marcella (noir detective)
Paranoid (traditional detective/noir)