“New series, coming soon: Coroner! They investigate the dead and solve their crimes!”
.. that’s not how it works. It’s not how CSI works, or Bones, or Criminal Minds, or any other of the hundreds upon hundreds of procedural TV shows in which the protagonists do every step of investigation, up to and including the persecution (and sometimes beyond! Why are you undercover in Rikers, forensic podiatrist? Get back to feet!). Don’t get me wrong – I love good crime TV as much as anyone else, but I often wonder how many people went into forensic science because they wanted to catch bad guys by looking at blood splatter or saying “enhance” at your computer to figure out license plate details from a 3 pixel traffic camera photo taken with the best technology 1994 had to offer.
I started to wonder if, as a technical writer, I could also start solving crime. The writer angle has been done of course, but they weren’t technical writers. Why couldn’t I work in a coroner’s office, documenting procedure or writing up instructions, but also have a knack for finding clues overlooked by actual professionals? It could happen. It doesn’t have to be my specific profession, either – a traveling salesperson peddles knives – and crackpot motives! A plumber, always in the right place – at the wrong time! Social Media Rockstar tweets as the voice of your brand – and of the newly deceased! Oh, yes. All of these are excellent ideas.
I’m gonna start asking my boss for crimes to solve. Crimes other than the criminal lack of punctuation and grammar in my work, that is.